On Tuesday, Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO) announced its intent to acquire a leading global provider of testing technology, QIAGEN (NYSE:QGEN) for $11.5 billion. That deal valuation includes $1.4 billion of the Netherlands-based company’s outstanding debt. It’s hard to imagine a well-run company like Thermo Fisher authorizing an 11-figure acquisition solely to chase the latest virus outbreak. That said, recent progress made by the molecular diagnostics specialist in developing a test for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 probably nudged Thermo Fisher’s decision along.
Since January, Qiagen has been providing instruments and test kits used to detect the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. In late February, Qiagen announced initial shipments of test kits that can rapidly differentiate between the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 infections and 21 other pathogens that present similar symptoms.
Test kits for SARS-CoV-2 could be big sellers in the year ahead, but Thermo Fisher’s bet on Qiagen is part of a much larger strategy. New therapies for cancer and other diseases are increasingly being tailored to match the specific genetic profiles of patients and their cancers. This purchase will immediately embed Thermo Fisher even more firmly in the spaces between drug developers and healthcare providers.