NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis (NVS) - Get Report has announced it will sell its blood transfusion diagnostics unit to Grifols (GRFS) - Get Report for $1.68 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 Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez in a statement.

For the full year 2012, the unit brought in $565 million in net sales, 1% of the Novartis' total $56 billion in revenue. Grifols said the division will account for more than 20% of its company's total sales and plans to ramp up turnover close to $1 billion.

The blood transfusion diagnostics unit, located in Emeryville, California, is committed to developing transfusion medicine and immunology. Barcelona-based Grifols said the unit will complement its production of plasma protein therapies, particularly helpful to patients with rare genetic diseases such as blood-clotting disorders.

The transaction, pending regulatory approval, should close in the first half of 2014. 

Global law firm Proskauer acted as Grifols' legal adviser on the deal, led by New York-based partners Peter Samuels and Daniel Ganitsky. 

In morning trading, Grifols opened 6% higher to $31.76, while Novartis is up 1% to $78.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.