Roche a world-leading healthcare provider of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, and Ventana Medical Systems have signed a definitive merger agreement.

Roche a world-leading healthcare provider of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, and Ventana Medical Systems have signed a definitive merger agreement. Ventana develops, manufactures, and markets instrument/reagent systems that automate tissue preparation and slide staining in clinical histology and drug discovery laboratories worldwide. The company's clinical systems are important tools used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Ventana's drug discovery systems are used to accelerate the discovery of new drug targets and evaluate the safety of new drug compounds.

Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will increase the purchase price in the tender offer for Ventana common shares to $89.50 per share in cash and Ventana's Board of Directors will recommend that Ventana's shareholders tender their shares to Roche.

The boards of Ventana and Roche have approved the merger agreement. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Roche will amend its existing tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Ventana to reflect the terms of the merger agreement. The acquisition of Ventana, a leader in the fast-growing histopathology (tissue-based diagnostics) segment, will allow Roche to broaden its diagnostic offerings and complement its world leadership in both in-vitro diagnostic systems and oncology therapies.

Roche's Diagnostics Division offers a uniquely broad product portfolio and supplies a wide array of innovative testing products and services to researchers, physicians, patients, hospitals and laboratories world-wide.