Thermo Fisher goes shopping

At $450m in cash, the acquisition of Mesa Biotech is not the largest deal Thermo Fisher has done; it is not even the largest it has done in the past week. But it is interesting. Mesa’s Accula technology allows nucleic acid PCR testing at the point of care, and can run Flu A/B and respiratory syncytial virus tests. An Accula Covid-19 test with a turnaround time of 30 minutes – very fast for a PCR assay – received emergency authorisation in late March. Mesa is expected to have sold $45m-worth of tests in 2020 and see rapid sales growth, Leerink analysts write. Thermo Fisher has had a good pandemic, its suite of Covid-19 tests generating $2bn in revenue in the third quarter of 2020 alone. The finding that its TaqPath assay can be used to track the fast-spreading B117 variant of the coronavirus has not hurt either. This has left the group with a considerable amount of cash – around $7.5bn at the end of the third quarter – part of which it put to use on Friday by buying the viral vector manufacturing business of Novasep for €725m ($879m). This unit provides contract manufacturing services for vaccines and therapies to biopharma groups.

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