As part of its plans to expand in gene sequencing, Roche is acquiring Genia Technologies in a deal that could be worth up to $350 million to the US firm.

The Swiss major will pay privately-held Genia’s shareholders $125 million in cash upfront and up to $225 million in contingent payments depending on the achievement of certain milestones. The Mountain View, California-based company is developing a single-molecule, semiconductor based, DNA sequencing platform using nanopore technology.

Genia’s technology “is expected to reduce the price of sequencing while increasing speed and sensitivity”, Roche noted. Roland Diggelmann, chief operating officer of its diagnostics arm, said that getting hold of this technology “strengthens our next-generation sequencing pipeline”.

A couple of years ago, Roche finally walked away from a proposed $6.60 billion bid to buy the gene sequencing market leader Illumina after the US firm fought off an attempt to take control of its board.