Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Foundation Medicine (NASDAQ:FMI) rose by more than 116% Monday morning after the company announced a collaborative agreement with the Swiss pharma giant Roche (OTC:RHHBY) for its genomic-based cancer diagnostic tests. Per the terms of the deal, Roche will purchase a 56.3% stake in Foundation Medicine for a reported $1.03 billion.
Breaking this down a bit further, the pharma giant is buying 15.6 million shares of Foundation at $50 a share for a total of $780 million. On top of that, Roche will purchase an additional 5 million newly issued shares, also at $50 per share, for $250 million.
Although Foundation will remain an independent entity after this deal, Roche will help market Foundation's current cancer products and provide another $150 million to develop additional tests.
So what: Roche appears to be feeling the heat from its competitors like AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb, both of which have recently made major strides toward bringing game-changing new oncology products to market. At present, Roche still remains the world's largest cancer drugmaker, but it has fallen behind some of its rivals in terms of developing next-generation types of treatments. This deal, in my opinion, is a move to rectify that disparity.
Now what: There is little doubt that molecular-based diagnostic tests are going to play a huge role in the fight against cancer. Indeed, Exact Sciences is already proving this to be the case with its newly approved colon cancer diagnostic Cologuard.
That said, the long-awaited "personalized" approach to oncology care via genomic testing has gotten off to a notably slow start, largely due to funding issues and the sheer complexity of cancer genetics. Now that a big player like Roche has taken an interest, this might be a sign that the tide is finally starting to turn. So stay tuned!