Roche is expanding its diagnostics business with the acquisition  of Germany's PVT in a deal that could be worth up to 85 million euros.

The Swiss major is getting hold of PVT and its US distribution arm based in Georgia for a 65 million euro upfront fee. It will also pay out up to an additional 20 million euros, dependent on performance-related milestones.

PVT specialises in "customised automation and workflow solutions for in vitro diagnostic testing" in large commercial and hospital laboratories. Roche Diagnostics chief operating officer Daniel O'Day noted that “increasing laboratory consolidation leading to testing volumes of tens of thousands samples per day demand an ever-higher degree of automation,” and PVT’s technology will strengthen the firm's growth and competitive advantage in the laboratory core business.

The latter had an estimated market size of $15.3 billion in 2009.