Thermo Fisher back on the M&A train through BD buy

The addition of BD’s Advanced Bioprocessing business will boost Thermo Fisher Scientific’s cell culture media formulations offering.

At the BioProcess International Conference in Boston, Massachusetts last week, news broke that equipment and reagent supplier Thermo Fisher agreed to buy the Advanced Bioprocessing business of medtech firm Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD).

The business, which clocks in around $100 million (€86 million) annually, will add several peptones that enhance cell culture media formulations, aimed at improving yield and reduce variability in biomanufacturing, to Thermo Fisher’s bioprocessing offering.

WIth BD, Thermo Fisher continues to up its bioprocessing tools and services through M&A. Image: iStcok/maxsattana

Representatives from both firms remained tight lipped Friday on the show floor, though Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific, said in a statement that “these new capabilities will complement our bioproduction offering and strengthen our ability to serve this rapidly growing market, from development to large-scale production.”

Acquisition history

The acquisition is the latest in the bioprocessing space, and one of many for M&A-hungry Thermo Fisher, which has built up its business through billions of dollars of deals since 2014, including:

  • Life Technologies, for research tools and consumables in 2014 for $15.8 billion
  • Advanced Scientifics, Inc. (ASI), for single-use bioreactors and components in 2015 for $300 million
  • Alfa Aesar, for research chemicals in 2015 for $405 million
  • Affymetrix, for bioanalytics / process solutions in 2016 for $1.3 billion
  • FEI Company, for high-performance electron microscopy, in 2016 for $4.2 billion
  • MTI-Globalstem, for stem cell reagents in 2016 (price not disclosed)
  • Finesse Solutions, for automation / controls in 2017 (price not disclosed)
  • Patheon, for CDMO capabilities in 2017 for $7.2 billion
  • Gatan, for instrumentation and software in 2018 for $925 million

To complete the acquisition of Life Technologies in 2014, competition boards instructed Thermo Fisher to divest parts of its bioproduction business, including its cell culture (sera and media), gene modulation and magnetic beads businesses to GE Healthcare for $1 billion.

Meanwhile in 2015, Thermo Fisher was rumored to have been in the bidding to buy fellow bioprocessing vendor Pall Corporation. The firm finally got snapped up by Danaher Corporation for $13.8 billion.

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