Novartis to sell blood transfusion testing unit to Spain's Grifols for $1.675 bn

Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis International AG has agreed to sell its blood transfusion testing unit to Spain's Grifols for $1.675 billion.

"The sale of the Novartis blood transfusion diagnostics unit enables us to focus more sharply on our strategic businesses while providing Grifols with a platform for global expansion," said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis.

The deal includes in-vitro diagnostic products and technology for transfusion medicine and immunology, patents, brands, licences and royalties, a manufacturing plant in the US and commercial offices in the US, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

Acquired in 2006 as part of Chiron, the blood transfusion diagnostics unit is part of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. The blood transfusion diagnostics unit conducts nucleic acid testing, blood testing products and immunoassay reagents that detect infectious disease.

Based in Emeryville, California, the unit had 2012 net sales of around $565 million.

Basel-based Novartis said the sale does not include its companion diagnostics unit that is integrated into the pharmaceuticals business, nor the Genoptix business, as these are closely linked to the pharmaceuticals pipeline.

Headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, Grifols is the world's third largest producer of plasma-derived therapies.

Grifols said the deal will expand its portfolio by including Novartis' diagnostic products for transfusion medicine and immunology, including its highly innovative, market-leading NAT technology, instrumentation and equipment for blood screening, specific software and reagents.

Grifols' diagnostic division manufactures and develops instrumentation and reagents in three fields: transfusion medicine, immunology and hemostasis.

Grifols also produces and distributes blood collection bags. The company is one of the leading suppliers of diagnostic tests for transfusion such as blood typing tests or donor-patient pre-transfusion compatibility tests. Its products are used by hospital blood banks, transfusion centres and clinical immunohematology laboratories.

''The acquisition of Novartis' diagnostic business is a step further into our vision to become a world leader also in the diagnostics field. During the last two years the Diagnostic Division has been preparing for this step, especially in the immunohematolgy activities,'' said, Victor Grifols, president and CEO of Grifols.