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Roche buys U.S. blood-testing firm for initial $220 million

ZURICH (Reuters) - - Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG is buying Constitution Medical Investors (CMI), the U.S. developer of a testing system for blood diseases like anemia and leukemia, for an upfront $220 million, plus further contingent payments.

Roche, the world's largest maker of cancer drugs, said on Tuesday the contingent payments depended on the achievement of certain milestones, without giving details.

It said CMI would strengthen Roche's position in the laboratory hematology testing business, with an estimated global market size of more than $2 billion.

CMI is developing "Bloodhound" technology which should increase efficiency and save laboratory space by replacing several workstations with a single, compact unit.

Boston-based CMI was created and funded by private equity firm Warburg Pincus and former Cytyc Corporation executives Patrick Sullivan and Daniel Levangie.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Mark Potter)

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