Roche to pick up GenMark Diagnostics in $1.8B infectious disease testing deal

Roche has inked a $1.8 billion, all-cash deal for GenMark Diagnostics, to acquire its molecular tests designed to screen patient samples for multiple infections simultaneously.

GenMark’s ePlex panels would complement Roche’s current portfolio of molecular diagnostics, with tests for a range of respiratory and bloodstream pathogens including the coronavirus behind COVID-19, the company said—while the Big Pharma’s sales teams could also help push the company’s products through to a larger international audience.

“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,” said Roche Diagnostics CEO Thomas Schinecker. 

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

The deal, expected to close by the end of June, is priced at $24.05 per share—about a 43% premium above GenMark’s share price in early February, before a report from Bloomberg on a potential sale sent the company’s stock up by about a third, speculating it as a potential fit for Roche as well as Hologic, BD or Thermo Fisher Scientific. Before today’s announcement, GenMark’s share price had settled at $18.50, and has since jumped nearly 30% on the news to $23.86.

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The agreement has been unanimously approved by both companies’ boards of directors, with GenMark expected to continue its principal operations out of its current location in Carlsbad, California.

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