Thermo Fisher reports $6bn+ COVID windfall in 2020

Thermo Fisher says it supported over 250 coronavirus-related programs in 2020, generating “well over $6 billion” in COVID-19 response revenue.

Speaking at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, held virtually for the first time in its nearly 40 year history, Thermo Fisher Scientific CEO Marc Casper described 2020 as the “best year yet” for his firm, representing an “extraordinary performance in the most challenging of times.”

The multinational offers a broad spectrum of biopharma services, all of which saw a surge in demand on the back of COVID-19 and contributed heavily to Thermo Fisher’s topline.

Image: iStock/Matthew Starling

“Our speed at scale allows us to quickly mobilize, to enable the global societal response in the pandemic,” Casper said. “We significantly deepened our relationships with our customers and governments around the world and generated well over $6 billion in COVID-19 response revenue in 2020.”

Going into details, he said the firm “played an outsized role in the global testing and sample collection response to the pandemic,” with Thermo Fisher exponentially increasing capacity to 20 million plus tests per week as the contagion emerged.

“We scaled our sample preparation business. And that combination of PCR and sample prep has allowed us to truly enhance our long-term competitive position in molecular diagnostics by showing our customers how well we can work and quickly we scale across the world. It’s been a remarkable year in terms of the impact that we’ve had in supporting testing around the world.”

On the COVID-19 vaccine and therapy production front, Casper claimed his firm supported 250 projects in 2020, both through its range of bioprocess equipment and consumables, and as a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).

For bioprocessing – a sector analysts back in June predicted could see a $14 billion windfall from COVID-19 – Casper cited cell culture media, single-use technology, and its “rapidly growing purification products” as playing “a huge role” in supporting development programs for both end-users and CDMOs.

Meanwhile, Thermo Fisher’s own CDMO business is booming on the back of COVID, “supporting all types of medicines and vaccines responding to the pandemic and also entering into long-term new partnerships with […] the US government and with Singapore to expand capacity for long term,” Casper said.

“Those set of activities, the therapies and vaccines, will generate over $1 billion of revenue and, longer term, we’ll be able to repurpose that capacity because it’s totally usable for any other type of biologic or vaccine. And therefore, those investments will allow us to accelerate growth longer term as well, so a really strong response to the pandemic.”

In October, Thermo Fisher announced it was investing an additional $700 million in CAPEX to add global capacity to meet COVID-related demand, though told stakeholders at the time such investments would not lay dormant if and when the COVID surge diminishes.

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