Roche said today it acquired Constitution Medical Investors (CMI) for $220 million up-front plus an undisclosed amount in potential payments tied to milestones, in a deal the pharma giant reasons will increase and enhance Roche Diagnostics’ presence in the laboratory hematology testing business.

CMI, Roche said, will evolve into Roche Diagnostics’ center of excellence for hematology products, which now include a testing system in development that is designed to provide faster and more accurate diagnosis of blood-related diseases, such as anemia and leukemia.

Using CMI’s DigiMac3™ (Digital Morphologic Analyzer, Cell Classifier, and Counter) technology, the fully-automated Bloodhound™ system is intended to increase efficiency and save laboratory space by functioning as a single, compact 42-inch by 56-inch unit capable of replacing several workstations. DigiMac3 provides cell-by-cell images that in many cases may eliminate the need for microscopic review, in contrast to current blood-analysis systems that use impedance or flow cytometry.

Bloodhound—which according to CMI is the world’s first integrated hematology instrument—combines a digital morphologic analyzer, cell counter, and classifier into a single instrument that makes and stains its own slides. By counting, identifying, isolating, and categorizing white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, and displaying the results onto its viewing station, Bloodhound is designed to allow medical technologists to easily focus their attention on cells of interest.

“With this acquisition, we will further strengthen our commitment to hematology and drive towards integrated laboratory solutions with innovative products, which deliver medical value to our customers and patients,” Roland Diggelmann, COO of Roche Diagnostics, said in a statement.

Boston-based CMI was created and primarily funded by the $35 billion private equity firm Warburg Pincus, as well as two former Cytyc executives, Patrick Sullivan and Daniel Levangie.

Roche’s acquisition of CMI comes more than a year after Roche renewed for 10 years a distribution, sales, and services agreement with Japan-based Sysmex for hematology products including instruments, reagents, and data management solutions in Spain, Turkey, Greece, South Africa, Russia, Finland, Baltic Territory, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Central America, Australia, and New Zealand.

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