Swiss healthcare firm Roche has agreed to acquire GenMark Diagnostics, a provider of multiplex molecular diagnostic solutions, in an all-cash transaction valued at $ 1.8bn.

Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will fully acquire all outstanding shares of GenMark’s common stock at a price of $24.05 per share, on a fully diluted basis.

The purchase price indicates a premium of around 43% to GenMark’s unaffected closing share price as of 10 February 2021, said the Swiss company.

Upon closing of the transaction, GenMark’s primary operations are planned to be continued at its current location in Carlsbad, California, US.

Roche Diagnostics CEO Thomas Schinecker said: “Acquiring GenMark Diagnostics will broaden our molecular diagnostics portfolio to include solutions that can provide lifesaving information quickly to patients and their healthcare providers in the fight against infectious diseases.

“Their proven expertise in syndromic panel testing provides faster targeted therapeutic intervention, resulting in improved patient outcomes and reduced hospital stays, and will contribute to Roche’s commitment to helping control infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance.

“The rapid identification of bloodstream infections and the detection of antimicrobial resistance genes are more essential than ever for hospitals and their patients.”

GenMark offers Respiratory Pathogen Panels that identify the most common viral and bacterial organisms related to upper respiratory infection, including SARS-CoV-2.

Its panel testing portfolio is expected to complement Roche’s molecular diagnostics portfolio, while the Roche global network would expand the reach for GenMark’s testing products.

The diagnostics firm designed eSensor XT-8 and ePlex systems using its eSensor detection technology, to support a wide range of molecular diagnostic tests.

ePlex system is said to enhance lab efficiency through streamlined order-to-reporting workflow and improve patient outcomes through rapid diagnosis of symptoms.

GenMark Diagnostics CEO Scott Mendel said: “As a part of Roche, we can accelerate our mission to enable rapid diagnosis of infectious disease to improve patient outcomes.

“Together with Roche’s diagnostics healthcare solutions, we will be able to provide a full suite of molecular diagnostic solutions to customers around the world.

“We are thrilled to become a part of Roche and are confident that this is the right path forward for GenMark and our customers.”

Closing of the transaction is expected in the second quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.

Citi is serving as a financial advisor and Sidley Austin as legal counsel to Roche for the transaction, while J.P. Morgan Securities is serving as an exclusive financial advisor and DLA Piper as legal counsel to GenMark.