Roche Acquires Test Maker TIB Molbiol

There was a time when few non-scientists had heard of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests but now, in the age of COVID-19, the term has entered everyday language.

As another sign of its importance, Roche has acquired its long-term partner, diagnostics company TIB Molbiol in order to expand its test portfolio and bolster 'the fight against new infectious diseases'.

Roche announced its intention to acquire the company in September and has now completed its share purchase agreement, acquiring all of TIB Molbiol Group's outstanding shares.

The company will operate under the Roche umbrella as a subsidiary of the Diagnostics division, adding its 45 CE-marked in vitro diagnostics assays and 100 research-use assays to the Roche portfolio.

The two companies have collaborated for more than 20 years 'to rapidly address critical healthcare needs including biological threats' that include SARS, anthrax, avian influenza virus H5N1, MERS, the novel influenza virus H1N1 swine, Ebola virus, Zika virus and most recently, SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants, said Roche.

“I am very pleased that together with TIB Molbiol, we can significantly improve access for patients to a broader spectrum of diagnostic tests – from high volume routine tests to the diagnosis of rare diseases,” said Thomas Schinecker, head of Roche Diagnostics. “TIB Molbiol will continue to be an innovation engine and frontrunner in our common fight against infectious diseases, such as SARS-CoV-2.”

For more than 30 years TIB Molbiol has supplied reagents for research and medical diagnostics including custom oligonucleotides with which the company partnered in the development of molecular diagnostics. The resulting broad portfolio of diagnostic assays covers inherited genetic as well as somatic mutation testing, quantitative assays for haematology and transplantation medicine.

However, the company's greatest focus has been on assays to test for infectious diseases. Its assays are available as modular kits that allow 'symptomatic panels' to be created by combining assays, which is especially valuable when faced with emerging pathogens.

TIB Molbiol's ultra-rapid assay development for emerging infectious diseases has been demonstrated against both SARS-CoV-1 – when it developed an assay within days in 2003 – and SARS-CoV-2.