Italian company Bracco Imaging has signed a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of UK molecular imaging company Blue Earth Diagnostics in a deal valued at $450m.

Bracco Imaging’s acquisition of Blue Earth Diagnostics from healthcare company Syncona also includes a closing adjustment estimated at $25m.

Once the acquisition closes, Blue Earth Diagnostics will become a subsidiary of Bracco Imaging, led by its existing leadership team and retaining its name.

The company is expected to generate revenues of $140m in the year to September 2019, primarily in the US.

Blue Earth Diagnostics developed the Axumin (F18-fluciclovine) injection, the first novel PET molecular imaging agent.

Axumin has already secured approval in the US and the European Union for PET imaging in men with suspected recurrent prostate cancer based on elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels.

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The company’s pipeline includes Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA)-targeted radiohybrid (rh) agents.

Bracco Imaging CEO Fulvio Renoldi Bracco said: “Blue Earth Diagnostics’ innovative products and pipeline will significantly enhance Bracco Imaging’s portfolio in precision medicine and personalised diagnostics, while expanding our range of nuclear oncology imaging solutions in the Urology segment and other specialties.”

Blue Earth Diagnostics is also investigating Axumin for other cancers including in neuro-oncology.

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to take place in the third quarter of this year.

Blue Earth Diagnostics CEO Dr Jonathan Allis said: “The acquisition of Blue Earth Diagnostics by Bracco Imaging is a validation of the proven success of Axumin in prostate cancer, its potential uses beyond prostate cancer, and the PSMA pipeline under development.

“Bracco Imaging’s global footprint and clinical research and marketing support will enable us to further leverage our high-value platform for innovative radiopharmaceuticals to inform clinical management and guide care for cancer patients around the world.”