Roche is paying over $1 billion to acquire a majority stake in molecular information company Foundation Medicine as part of its push towards personalised cancer care.

The Swiss major is looking at a holding of up to 56.3% in Foundation, principally by buying 15.6 million shares at $50 each (about double its price on Friday) or $780 million. Roche will also invest $250 million by acquiring five million newly-issued shares at the same price.

The company is also providing over $150 million in R&D funding for a minimum of five years  and the initial focus of the research collaboration will be on developing genomic profile tests for cancer immunotherapies and for continuous blood-based monitoring. Foundation Medicine will continue to operate independently, while Roche will sell the latter’s products outside the USA.

Daniel O’Day, chief operating officer at Roche’s pharma division, said that by combining Foundation’s “pioneering approach to genomics and molecular information with Roche’s expertise in the field of oncology, we can bring personalised healthcare in oncology to the next level”. Michael Pellini, Foundation’s chief executive, said the structure of the agreement “allows us to maintain the entrepreneurial spirit…and ensures that our business model, network of partnerships and objectives are not altered”.