A couple of days after buying Therapeutic Human Polyclonals, which specialises in innovative antibody research, Roche is once again dipping into its deep pockets and has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire BioVeris Corp in a cash deal worth some $600 million.

Roche will pay $21.50 per share for BioVeris, which develops technologies in diagnostics and vaccinology, and the deal gives the Swiss drugmaker access to the Maryland, USA-based group’s electrochemiluminescence (ECL) technology, and enable Roche to expand its immunochemistry business from the human diagnostics field into new market segments, including life science R&D, drug discovery and development and clinical trials. The addition of BioVeris should increase annual sales at Roche by 400 million Swiss francs, the companies noted.

Severin Schwan, chief executive of Roche Diagnostics, said that in comparison with other detection technologies, “ECL offers distinct advantages such as enhanced sensitivity, short incubation times and broad measuring ranges. This acquisition ensures that Roche will be able to provide unrestricted access to all customers and therefore represents a significant growth opportunity for our immunochemistry business.”

The deal is expected to close during the third quarter of 2007 and is the third major transaction that Roche has entered into this week. As well as buying Therapeutic Human Polyclonals for $56.5 million, the firm is spending $154.9 million to buy 454 Life Sciences, a subsidiary of CuraGen Corp which focuses on high-throughput DNA sequencing.