Roche has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the outstanding shares of Foundation Medicine (FMI) for $2.4bn.

The transaction values the FMI at $5.3bn on a fully diluted basis. FMI is a US-based molecular and genomic analysis company.

The merger agreement has been approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close in the second half of this year, subject to customary closing conditions.

Upon completion of the transaction, FMI will continue to operate as a separate and autonomous legal entity.

The merger is expected to facilitate research and development of personalised medicines to treat cancer by using combined expertise in genomics and molecular information.

“We will preserve FMI’s autonomy while supporting them in accelerating their progress.”

Roche will also leverage Foundation Medicine’s comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) testing and data services to support its personalised healthcare strategy.

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Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO Daniel O’Day said: “This is important to our personalised healthcare strategy as we believe molecular insights and the broad availability of high-quality comprehensive genomic profiling are key enablers for the development of, and access to, new cancer treatments.

“We will preserve FMI’s autonomy while supporting them in accelerating their progress.”

Based in Massachusetts, Foundation Medicine focuses on improving cancer care by assessing molecular alterations among patients.

FMI offers a full suite of comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) assays to detect molecular changes due to cancer on a patient. It then directs them with appropriate therapies, immunotherapies and clinical trials accordingly.