Italian diagnostics firm DiaSorin has agreed to buy US rival Luminex for around $1.8bn.

Luminex is a leader in multiplex diagnostic technologies, which can detect multiple pathogens from one sample.

The takeover will give DiaSorin control of a multiplex infectious disease testing system, a platform for running up to 12 in vitro diagnostics in parallel and allow it to expand its footprint in the US.

This could help to offset the impact of a potential drop in demand for DiaSorin’s Covid-19 tests as the world continues its gradual recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

The pandemic led to rapid growth for DiaSorin’s molecular division, accounting for 29% of its sales in 2020.

As the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines continues, a potential drop in demand for Covid-19 testing post-pandemic could have a significant impact for businesses like DiaSorin.

DiaSorin Group CEO Carlo Rosa said: “Luminex perfectly fits with our strategy to grow our positioning in the molecular diagnostics space, to broaden our presence in the US and to create additional value through life science offerings.”

Luminex will be merged with a newly-formed US subsidiary of DiaSorin. The combined group would have had 2020 revenues of around $1.25bn.

The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2021, subject to Luminex shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions.

Luminex shareholders will receive an all-cash transaction price of $37 per share, representing a 23.1% premium based on the unaffected closing stock price of Luminex on 24 February 2021.

The acquisition will be funded through a mix of cash and external financing, with DiaSorin signing a Senior Facilities Agreement with a syndicate of banks for a $1.1bn loan due in 2026, a bridge loan of $500m due within 12 months with the potential for a further 12-month extension.

Luminex president and CEO Nachum Shamir said: “With the merger into DiaSorin, we believe we can expand the value our customers receive through an expanded global product and service portfolio. The proposed transaction underscores the respected position Luminex has built in the marketplace and rewards our shareholders with attractive value for their shares.”

DiaSorin’s acquisition of Luminex follows a similar diagnostics deal made last month by Roche, which signed an agreement to purchase molecular diagnostics firm GenMark Diagnostics. That deal was also valued at around $1.8bn.