Q2 Results: Bioprocessing Vendors Return to Double-Digit Growth

Thermo Fisher and Sartorius are among bioprocessing vendors reporting a return to double-digit year-on-year growth, following ‘lumpy’ results in the same quarter 2017.

For the second quarter 2018, Thermo Fisher reported revenues from its Life Sciences Solution segment of US$1.6 billion (€1.4 billion), up 12% on the same period last year.

Fellow vendor Sartorius reported Q2 sales in its Bioprocessing Solutions unit up 14% in constant currency over last year, pulling in €287 million ($336 million), while order uptake was up 16% to €300 million for the quarter.

This level of double-digit growth is no surprise, according to the firms. Marc Casper, Thermo Fisher’s CEO, said the “range from bioproduction was excellent,” in his firm’s financial call, while Sartorius CEO Joachim Kreuzburg said results were “very healthy, [and] also a very positive expectation in regard to single-use business for the second half of the year.”

Back to Normal

Both CEOs suggested the year-on-year growth represents a return to normality for the sector.

Kreuzburg even described the double-digit improvement as “nothing spectacular,” reflecting that the high numbers of biotherapeutics moving into – and through – the clinic to commercialization have had a positive effect on the suppliers of bioprocessing tools and equipment for numerous years.

Both firms had reported modest growth in their respective second quarters 2017. Thermo Fisher, for example, saw single-digit growth (3% year-on-year) in Q2 2017. Casper described bioproduction at the time as “a lumpy business,” despite having “fantastic” long-term prospects.

Sartorius’s ‘recovery’ to double-digits was also aided by a speedy return to growth in its media business after it took a €10 million hit in Q2 2017. This was attributed to production problems at a liquid and powder media facility run by Sartorius’s cell culture partner Lonza.

Across the Board

Last week, Danaher Corporation praised its bioprocessing business Pall Corporation for contributing to a “return to normality” across its life sciences business. The sector saw a 16% year-on-year growth.

Meanwhile, GE Healthcare reported its Life Sciences orders were up 12%, with bioprocess up 14% year-on-year for its second quarter.

Other major vendors, including Merck KGaA’s MilliporeSigma and Repligen, have not yet announced their financials for the equivalent quarter.