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Thermo Fisher: Modest Q2 for life sciences due to ‘lumpiness’ of bioproduction

Dan Stanton

By Dan Stanton+

Last updated on 01-Aug-2017 at 12:13 GMT2017-08-01T12:13:54Z

Image: iStock/tadamichi
Image: iStock/tadamichi

Muted bioproduction technology pegged back an otherwise strong quarter, but Thermo Fisher says it expects growth will pick up again over time.

For the second quarter 2017, Thermo Fisher Scientific reported revenue of $5bn and profits of $612m, up 10% and 12% year-on-year.

But after a number of quarters of double-digit and high single-digit growth, its life sciences business grew just 3% to $1.4bn compared with the same period last year.

This was attributed to muted growth in its bioproduction business – consisting of bioprocessing cell culture and cell harvesting systems, and accompanying containers and consumables – which according to CEO Marc Casper is a trend seen across the industry.

“There's some lumpiness. In Q2, while it grew reasonably, it was softer than the very torrid growth that we had the last few quarters, and we would expect that growth will pick up over time there. So that's our view on bioproduction,” he said on a conference call to discuss results.

His view mirrors that of rival Sartorius Stedim Biotech (SSB) which said it too had seen modest sales growth across its bioprocessing division in Q2 due to the robustness of previous years.

Casper told investors he was confident growth would pick up again.

“Bioproduction is definitely a lumpy business, and the long-term prospect for bioproduction is fantastic. When you think about the demand for biologics, biosimilars, vaccines in the pipeline, we are very bullish.

"One of the leading indicators we have is our biosciences business serves the research customer base with those technologies, especially media and sera, and that business is incredibly robust, so the activity level is very strong."

Patheon acquisition

Casper also spoke about Thermo Fisher’s proposed $7.2bn acquisition of contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) Patheon, announced in May .

“We're really excited about the new outsourcing services we'll gain from Patheon, which will allow us to provide comprehensive support for our biopharma customers, from drug development to clinical trials to commercial manufacturing,” Casper said.

He added: “We're very confident in our ability to close by the end of the year, and look forward to officially welcoming our new Patheon colleagues to thermos Fisher.”

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