Kalorama Information says Roche is saving time and gaining market potential with its recent acquisition of testmaker IQuum. According to the healthcare market research publisher, the $450 million deal comes in the wake of a similarly minded acquisition of BioFire Diagnostics by bioMérieux and others. The true targets behind these acquisitions, Kalorama says, are over $20 billion of combined revenue in the global POC diagnostics and molecular infectious disease test markets. Kalorama predicted a burgeoning market for molecular POC in its recent report The Market and Potential for Molecular Point of Care Diagnostics.

“The acquisition mirrors the philosophy of IQuum's platform, both are pre-packaged to jumpstart testing," said Emil Salazar, analyst for Kalorama Information. “This deal offers turnkey entry into the market for Roche and a product with speed of results.”

Salazar says the acquired company’s benchtop analyzer and lab-in-a-tube (LIAT) tests work for near-patient settings with results in 20 minutes and pre-packed reagent test tubes with compressible compartments that contain and facilitate the multiple steps of a molecular assay.

According to Kalorama Information’s report, while the IQuum acquisition has come only recently, Roche Diagnostics’ engagement with molecular POC diagnostics is longstanding through smaller ventures. Roche pursued technological antecedents as early as 1997, when it began licensing BioFire Diagnostics’ (then Idaho Technology) LightCycler rapid-cycle PCR technology. In November 2009, Roche entered into an agreement to identify applications and customers for Ionian Technologies and its “field-deployable” isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology and 10 minutes-to-result NEAR assay. In the same month, Ionian received an extended agreement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the development of infectious disease tests to be used in the developing world. Through its venture fund, Roche also participated in Curetis AG’s financing round in April 2012. Curetis developed the Unyvero System that uses disposable cartridges to perform all molecular assay steps for infectious disease testing.

“It’s a huge advantage to get flip-of-a-switch market entry into this market with a product already approved by the FDA,” Salazar said. "Approval could have been time-consuming and a disadvantage from the outset in a market that is quickly heating up."

In its report on the industry, The Market and Potential for Molecular Point of Care Diagnostics, Kalorama Information identified five primary market opportunities in infectious disease testing: healthcare-associated infections (HAIs); influenza and other respiratory tract infections; sexually transmitted diseases (STDs); sepsis; and infectious disease threats of the developing world. IQuum has so far targeted three of these markets through the market introduction of assays for influenza (FDA-approved A/B assay and a RUO-only H1N1 assay) and the development of assays for HIV, herpes viruses, dengue, and influenza subtypes.

The report, The Market and Potential for Molecular Point of Care Diagnostics, discuses important platforms and the status of products, reviews deals made in the market and profiles companies in this market. It also provides insight into the potential market for these products.

For more information, visit Kalorama Information.