Roche has agreed to acquire multiplex molecular diagnostic solutions provider GenMark Diagnostics in a deal valued at around $1.8bn.

Under the definitive merger agreement, Roche will purchase the complete common stock of GenMark by paying $24.05 per share.

The advanced respiratory pathogen panels offered by GenMark allow to detect the common viral and bacterial organisms associated with an upper respiratory infection, including SARS-CoV-2.

By using advanced eSensor detection technology, GenMark’s eSensor XT-8 and ePlex systems can conduct a range of molecular diagnostic sample-to-answer tests with compact and easy-to-use workstations and self-contained, disposable test cartridges.

Designed to enhance laboratory efficiency, the ePlex: The True Sample-to-Answer Solution will help address a range of infectious disease testing requirements such as respiratory, bloodstream and gastrointestinal infections.

GenMark’s syndromic panel testing portfolio is said to complement Roche’s current molecular diagnostics portfolio.

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.”

Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021.

Upon completion of the acquisition, the principal operations of GenMark will continue at its current location in Carlsbad of California.

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