Thermo Fisher buys ASI but will consolidation drive innovation in single-use?

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Single-use industry continues to consolidate as Thermo Fisher buys ASI
Single-use industry continues to consolidate as Thermo Fisher buys ASI

Related tags Disposable

Thermo Fisher has acquired bioprocessing equipment maker ASI for $300m (€260m) in the latest example of consolidation in the single-use industry.

The deal announced yesterday will see Thermo Fisher boost its portfolio of disposable technologies by incorporating Advanced Scientifics, Inc. (ASI), a designer and manufacturer of single-use systems and equipment for biomanufacturing.

Already Thermo Fisher offers a range of disposable bioprocessing products and accessories - including bioreactors, mixing systems, and single-use cell culture technologies retained despite the divestment of its Hyclone business​ - but this deal will add complementary systems and expand the firm’s offering across the whole bioprocessing space, according to CEO Marc Casper.

“We see this acquisition as a great opportunity to meet customer demand for quality and productivity in bioprocessing, and plan to leverage our global reach to bring these innovative products to a larger customer base.”

Consolidation leading innovation?

There have been a number of acquisitions in the single-use space over the last few years:  ABC was acquired by St Gobain​, ATMI was bought by Pall​, while Sartorius​ has also been filling gaps in its portfolio through M&A.

According to an industry insider, “ASI was a nimble supplier” and “this acquisition is evidence that the large single use suppliers see the advantages of small, innovative suppliers.”

The source added consolidation in the industry “opens up the market for new innovative technologies,” ​though did have some concerns as to the reduction of customer choice for biomanufacturers.

Some of the larger end-users have previously voiced this concern. Pfizer and Merck & Co.​, for example, recently expressed their anxieties that the shift to single-use has led to a decreasing number of suppliers controlling more of the supply chain.

“We’re ceding a lot of our control to suppliers in terms of control of our systems but we still maintain the accountability,”​ said Jim McColgan, director of site technical services at Pfizer, at the BioProcess International show in Boston last October.

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