Life Sciences Insight

Roche Bolsters Diagnostics Pipeline with $1.8 Billion Buy of GenMark

Shares of GenMark Diagnostics are soaring in premarket trading after Roche announced it was acquiring the California-based company in a $1.8 billion deal to bolster its own diagnostics pipeline.

Roche said it will acquire the company for $24.05 per share. GenMark’s stock jumped from Friday’s close of $18.50 to $23.90 in early trading this morning. In March 2020, GenMark was one of the first companies to receive Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its ePlex SARS-CoV-2 Test. That test will complement Roche’s own COVID-19 tests, including the Elecsys IL-6 test, which measures levels of IL-6 (interleukin-6), as well as its Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody test. In addition to its COVID-19 diagnostic test, GenMark uses its proprietary eSensor detection technology to provide molecular diagnostic tests that are designed to detect multiple pathogens from a single patient sample. Roche said GenMark’s ePlex system drives lab efficiency through streamlined order-to-reporting workflow and enables better patient outcomes by rapidly diagnosing a patient’s symptoms.

The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of GenMark and Roche. The GenMark acquisition is Roche’s largest since its 2019 $4.8 billion acquisition of gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics.

In its announcement this morning, the Swiss pharma giant said the addition of GenMark’s ePlex platform complements Roche’s diagnostic offering, addressing a broad range of infectious disease testing needs, including respiratory and bloodstream infections. GenMark’s Respiratory Pathogen Panels identify the most common viral and bacterial organisms associated with upper respiratory infection, including SARS-CoV-2, complementing Roche’s extensive portfolio of COVID-19 diagnostics solutions, Roche said. Additionally, Roche said its global network will provide an expanded reach for GlenMark’s products.

Thomas Schinecker, chief executive officer of Roche Diagnostics, said the acquisition of GenMark Diagnostics will broaden the company’s 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,” Schinecker said in a statement.

GenMark CEO Scott Mendel said becoming part of Roche is “the right path forward” for GenMark and its customers.

“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,” Mendel said in a statement.

The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2021. When the deal is complete, GenMark will continue to operate out of its California facilities.

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