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Thermo Fisher Scoops up Mesa Biotech for $450M

TAGS: IVD Business
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The deal, which is set to close at the end of 1Q21, would give Thermo Fisher access to a PCR-based rapid point-of-care testing platform for detecting infectious diseases including COVID-19.

Thermo Fisher Scientific is diving a bit deeper into point-of-care coronavirus testing with its latest acquisition. The Waltham, MA-based company is acquiring Mesa Biotech for about $450 million in cash and could pay up to $100 million in milestones following the close of the deal.

Plans call for the deal to close at the end of 1Q21.

The San Diego, CA-based company has developed a PCR-based rapid point-of-care testing platform available for detecting infectious diseases including SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and Strep A. In 2020, Mesa Biotech had revenues of $45 million.

"Mesa Biotech's innovative platform will enable us to accelerate the availability of reliable and accurate advanced molecular diagnostics at the point-of-care.  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," Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and COO of Thermo Fisher Scientific, said in a release. "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.”

Mesa Biotech's Accula Flu A/Flu B, RSV, and Strep A tests have received 510(k) clearance and Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendments waivers from FDA. The company received Emergency Use Authorization for SARS-CoV-2 in vitro diagnostic testing and is now available for use in patient care settings. The company said the test can provide results within 30 minutes.

The acquisition of Mesa Biotech helps add more testing-firepower to Thermo Fisher. Originally, Thermo Fisher was going to have additional COVID-19 testing through Qiagen. But Thermo Fisher terminated the deal (that grew to have a value of $12.5 billion) after Qiagen’s earnings were strengthened by coronavirus testing offerings, which caused the Venlo Netherlands-based company’s shareholders to hold on a little bit tighter.

On the tail end of the 39th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Thermo Fisher Scientific announced it had acquired Henogen S.A., Novasep's viral vector manufacturing business for $877 million in cash.

During the conference, Marc Casper, Thermo Fisher’s chairman, president and CEO said the company was in a good position for M&A.

“We enter the year with a pristine balance sheet,” Casper said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the J.P. Morgan presentation. “And from an M&A perspective, we're busy. Our pipeline is very full, very active, and I'm looking forward to continue to progress that pipeline in 2021.”

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