Roche Diagnostics purchases tissue dissection technology from AvanSci Bio


Pleasanton, CA, USA

Roche Diagnostics(SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) has signed a definitive Asset Purchase Agreement with AvanSci Bio for all products associated with the high performance microdissection of slide mounted tissue sections. The system consists of instrumentation, software and consumables used by researchers and clinicians to extract specific areas of tissue with high precision and purity for subsequent molecular analysis including real time PCR, microarrays and sequencing.

AvanSci Bio’s patent-pending technology includes the automated MilliSect™* instrument. This unique technology is highly precise, easy to use, and very affordable when compared to manual dissection methods and laser microdissection systems. The MilliSect™ system’s high specificity and quality enables a greater than 90% tumor enriched sample for molecular analysis. The system will be tested at select customer sites in 2015 as part of a broader development program for a future generation instrument.

“This innovative system will expand our diagnostic tool kit allowing us to link the diagnostic hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stain with sequencing analysis through high quality sample preparation,” said Dan Zabrowski, Head of Roche Tissue Diagnostics and Sequencing Solutions. “It will also enable us to meet the critical challenge of tumor heterogeneity.”

Tumor tissue staining gives researchers and clinicians important information about both tissue context and spatial relationships and tumor heterogeneity (which stems from the evolution of multiple subclones within the tumor). Information obtained from stained areas enable researchers and clinicians to pinpoint and extract more precise regions of interest within the tissue, resulting in purer samples of sufficient quantity that can then be used for sequencing. In addition, the analytical sensitivity of sequencing improves with higher sample purity as does subsequent data analysis and interpretation.

"We are very pleased that Roche has decided to pursue this Asset Purchase Agreement with AvanSci Bio,” said Rob Parry, CEO, AvanSci Bio. “We see Roche as the leader in tissue based diagnostics, molecular diagnostics and oncology, as well as tumor sample enrichment technology, which puts them in a unique position to maximize the impact our technology will have on the rapidly evolving field of sequencing and in improving patient care."

Roche continues to invest in the bridge between the anatomical pathology and genomics labs as researchers and clinicians increasingly rely on pure, tumor-enriched slide mounted tissue samples for sensitive and efficient molecular analysis. As the challenge of tumor heterogeneity is addressed through slide-based tissue diagnostic technologies and the analytical sensitivity of next generation sequencing improves, patients may benefit through more accurate and effective targeted therapies.

*The MilliSect™ instrument targets a 100mm2 to 100 µm2 level of resolution (what AvanSci refers to as “ meso” dissection range).

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Roche's personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostics that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. Founded in 1896, Roche has been making important contributions to global health for more than a century. Twenty-four medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organisation Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and chemotherapy.

In 2013 the Roche Group employed over 85,000 people worldwide, invested 8.7 billion Swiss francs in R&D and posted sales of 46.8 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit

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Jacquie Bucher

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Email: Jacquie Bucher