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The international pharmaceutical company Novartis AG said early Jan. 24 that it has agreed to buy Genoptix Inc., a Carlsbad-based specialty lab, for $470 million in cash.

The offer of $25 per share was a 27 percent premium over the $19.76 closing price of Genoptix stock on Jan. 21. In late trading Jan. 24, Genoptix shares were up 26 percent to $24.85.

Novartis, based in Basel, Switzerland, reported net sales of $44.3 billion in 2009. It reported 99,834 full-time employees that year. Shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange as NVS.

The Genoptix lab provides personalized diagnostic services to community-based hematologists and oncologists. Its specialty is diagnosing cancers in bone marrow, blood and lymph nodes. Genoptix employs more than 400 people, had 2009 sales of $184 million and trades on Nasdaq under the symbol GXDX. Tina S. Nova is its chief executive officer.

In October, Deloitte ranked Genoptix No. 41 on its national Technology Fast 500 list. Deloitte also called it the second-fastest growing company in San Diego, behind Halozyme Therapeutics.

In its Jan. 24 statement, Novartis said it planned to maintain Genoptixs existing operations.

Novartis acquisition needs regulatory approval and is expected to close before June 30. Barclays Capital, a unit of Barclays Bank PLC, is serving as financial adviser to Genoptix. Cooley LLP is the local companys legal adviser.

- Brad Graves

SOURCE

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