Novartis in deal to sell diagnostics unit

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

GENEVA (AP) — Pharmaceutical company Novartis says it is selling part of its diagnostics business to the Spanish health care company Grifols for $1.68 billion.

The company, based in Basel, Switzerland, says the deal with Grifols SA, which is headquartered in Barcelona and is the world's third-largest producer of plasma-derived therapies, requires customary regulatory approvals but is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014.

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

Novartis AG says the unit it acquired in 2006 as part of Chiron, an Emeryville, California-based biotech company, had sales of $565 million in 2012.