Swiss global healthcare firm Roche has acquired US-based molecular diagnostics testing service provider Ariosa Diagnostics for an undisclosed sum.
Roche aims to boost its commitment towards advanced molecular diagnostics.
Through their Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) laboratory using cell-free DNA (cfDNA) technology, Ariosa offers an accurate non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) service.
Ariosa's Harmony Prenatal Test is a blood test that can be performed as early as ten weeks into pregnancy. It is designed to evaluate the risk of Down's syndrome and other genetic abnormalities, by assessing fetal cfDNA found in maternal blood.
Roche Diagnostics division chief operating officer Roland Diggelmann said: "Circulating cfDNA has the promise of providing early diagnostic information through a simple blood test in many important segments including pregnancy, cancer and transplantation, aligning with our strategy in personalised healthcare and commitment to setting new standards of care."
The test specifically evaluates the risk of trisomies 13, 18 and 21 that are indicative of an extra chromosome in the fetus, which can lead to severe genetic conditions.
The company said the test was validated to CLIA requirements by a clinical data set and supported by clinical trials in more than 22,000 women of all ages and risk categories.
Conventional screening tests return false positive results up to 5% of the time, compared to the Harmony Prenatal Test, which has a false positive result of less than 0.1%.
Ariosa CEO Ken Song said: "We are thrilled to join forces with Roche to continue in our commitment to bringing forward high quality and affordable genetic testing that positively impacts the medical care of patients around the world."
The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.