South Korea-based medical AI company Lunit has agreed to acquire Volpara Health Technologies, a provider of AI software for early cancer detection, for a total of A$292m ($193m).

Under the terms of the agreement, Lunit will acquire all shares of Volpara at A$1.15 per share in cash, which represents a 47.4% premium to the last closing price of Volpara shares.

The transaction will be implemented through a scheme of arrangement, subject to approvals by Volpara shareholders, the New Zealand High Court, and regulatory approvals.

Volpara shareholders are expected to vote at a meeting to be held early in Q2 2024.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2024, subject to the satisfaction of the customary closing conditions.

Lunit CEO Brandon Suh said: “Lunit and Volpara are unified in our belief in the power of AI-driven software and together, our two organizations have the potential to create a powerful engine to better diagnose and care for cancer worldwide.

“Combining Volpara’s established presence in the US with Lunit’s complementing global footprint and AI expertise will create a compelling portfolio of advanced AI-enabled solutions for radiology and for other healthcare specialities.

“We respect and admire the achievements and corporate culture that Volpara has built and believe that together we can accelerate the entry of meaningful products to market that would save lives and benefit medical practices as we jointly pursue our shared vision of conquering cancer through AI.”

Established in 2013, Lunit is engaged in harnessing AI to enable accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment for cancer patients using AI-powered medical image analytics and AI biomarkers.

Volpara has a repository of more than 100 million images, which can be strategically augmented by additional AI expertise and solutions using Lunit’s in-house radiologists and technologies.

Together, the companies aim to explore new opportunities in global markets and provide a broad portfolio of products in the US market.

D23 Capital and Advisory, and MinterEllisonRuddWatts and MinterEllison advised Volpara, while Evercore, Luminis Partners, Baker Mackenzie and Harmos Horton Lusk advised Lunit on the transaction.

Volpara chairman Paul Reid said: “Volpara’s Board has assessed the proposed Scheme as providing compelling, risk-adjusted value and certainty for shareholders and unanimously support the proposed transaction.

“While the Board remains confident in the future of Volpara, the transaction would accelerate a capital return to shareholders and mitigates the risks that would otherwise be involved in delivering the opportunities from executing Volpara’s strategic plan over time.”

Volpara CEO and managing director Teri Thomas said: “Lunit’s proposal to acquire Volpara is a testament to the high quality of our products, our significant US market presence and the hard work of our employees.

“By combining Lunit and Volpara, the Group would have the opportunity to develop products that no other company is in a position to do. This is expected to put the combined company at the forefront of cancer technology and position it as a global leader in our field.”