Health and Science

Drug deal to target cancer at genetic level: CEO

Great day for Foundation Medicine: CEO
Great day for Foundation Medicine: CEO

Roche Holding has agreed to buy a majority stake in U.S.-based molecular and genomic analysis firm Foundation Medicine for up to $1.18 billion, in a move to bolster the Swiss drugmaker's personalized cancer treatments.

Dr. Michael J. Pellini, chief executive of Foundation, told CNBC on Monday the deal can accelerate a move into precision medicine for oncology.

"It's an important day for patients battling cancer," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview, noting that Foundation helps doctors understand cancer at its blueprint and then deploy targeted therapeutics.

Roche will pay $50 a share, or about $780 million, a premium of 109 percent to Foundation's closing price Friday. Roche will also invest $250 million in Foundation by acquiring newly issued shares.

As a result, Roche will own 52.4 percent to 56.3 percent of Foundation. The companies said the deal includes the potential for more than $150 million in additional funding by Roche.

—Reuters contributed to this report.