Thermo Fisher Expands Portfolio by Acquiring COVID-19 Diagnostic Company
Thermo Fisher Scientific seems to be in the mood for acquiring COVID-19 related testing tools and is spending hundreds of millions on acquiring small to large-sized companies. The latest in that line is Mesa Biotech, a San-Diego based company that develops a hand-held test device for COVID-19 detection. Mesa will receive approximately $450 million in cash and is eligible for an additional $100 million based on the completion of certain pre-discussed milestones.
“Mesa Biotech’s innovative platform will enable us to accelerate the availability of reliable and accurate advanced molecular diagnostics at the point of care,” said Mark Stevenson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific.
“Since the start of the pandemic, Thermo Fisher has acted quickly to provide support to the scientists and healthcare professionals at the frontlines of combating COVID-19. The addition of Mesa Biotech’s easy-to-use, rapid PCR-based test is highly complementary to our existing offering and will further help us meet the continuing demand for COVID-related testing while we work to rapidly scale and develop point-of-care tests for other infectious diseases in the future,” he added.
Mesa Biotech netted $45 million in revenue as of 2020. The 500 employee company has developed and commercialized a PCR-based rapid point-of-care testing capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2, flu, and other infectious diseases.
Mesa has quickly moved up the ranks by securing federal funding, waivers from the FDA for Accula FluA/FluB, among others, and scored an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for SARS-CoV-2 in vitro testing. Their testing method, now available in various clinics, delivers quick results within 30 minutes and is far more reliable than other rapid tests available in the market.
An elated Ingo Chakravarty, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mesa Biotech, added, “I am extremely proud of the remarkable accomplishments Mesa Biotech has achieved to date and excited about the prospects of becoming a part of Thermo Fisher. Mesa’s innovative rapid PCR platform technology, combining PCR accuracy with mobility and test results in 30 minutes, has already played a meaningful role in the collective efforts combating the pandemic. Thermo Fisher’s scale, innovation, and global reach will allow us to more significantly amplify the impact our technology will have on human health, during the pandemic, and far beyond.”
Thermo Fisher expects to close the deal by early 2021 based on regulatory approval and other closing conditions.
Thermo Fisher’s COVID-19 Investments
Last week Thermo Fisher bought Novasep’s Henogen division, which manufactures viral vectors that have the potential to be utilized in certain COVID-19 vaccines, among others, for $878 million.
At the recently concluded J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Marc Casper, president, and CEO, expects Thermo Fisher to have at least 25% growth for the full year of 2020. This would include a major revenue share from their COVID-19 items poised to hit a staggering $6 billion.
The company reported approximately $2 billion in revenue for just the COVID-19 related items in its third-quarter alone. Based on these tremendous earnings, it will be interesting to see how the company intends to navigate itself in this competitive COVID-19 market.
By T. Chakraborty, Ph.D.
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