Roche Holding will acquire a majority stake in molecular and genomic analysis firm Foundation Medicine for up to $1.18 billion, it said today.

The deal will boost the Swiss drugmaker's personalised cancer treatments.

This targeted approach to treating disease is gaining traction in many medical fields and is attractive to governments and insurers who pay for healthcare, since it means that drugs should go only to patients who are likely to benefit. 

Basel-based Roche, which will buy US-based Foundation through a combination of outstanding and newly issued shares, said it is looking for the deal to help to develop combination therapies and more accurately identify cancer patients. 

"The intention is to improve decision-making and support optimisation of patient care as oncology management becomes more complex," Roche said in a statement. 

The deal will result in Roche owning between 52.4% and 56.3% of Foundation, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Roche will obtain minority representation on the board of Foundation, which will retain its current management team. 

The initial focus of the collaboration will be on developing genomic profile tests for cancer immunotherapies and for continuous blood-based monitoring. The companies said the deal includes the potential for more than $150m in additional funding by Roche.

The acquisition comes on the heels of two others. Roche said last month that it would buy privately-held Bina Technologies for an undisclosed price and pay up to $489m to acquire Austrian biotech company Dutalys. 

US-based Bina Technologies provides technology for the processing and management of genomic information, while Dutalys is a specialist in the discovery and development of so-called bi-specific antibodies.