Thermo Fisher to expand cellular analysis toolbelt in $1.3bn 'sensible' deal

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/Angel Lopez Pelaz
Image: iStock/Angel Lopez Pelaz

Related tags Thermo fisher Biology Protein

Thermo Fisher will expand its antibody, multiplex RNA, and protein analysis tech offerings through the $1.3bn acquisition of Affymetrix.

Biological analysis toolmaker Affymetrix is set to be incorporated into Thermo Fisher after the firm agreed to be acquired for $14 (€12) per share, equating to around $1.3bn.

The deal, expected to close by the end of Q2 2016, is the latest acquisition for Thermo Fisher in its life sciences tools business, and CEO Marc Casper said it would strengthen its position and create new market opportunities in genetic analysis.

“In biosciences, the company’s antibody portfolio will significantly expand our offering in the fast-growing flow cytometry market, and customers will have greater access to these products through our global scale and commercial reach,”​ he said.

“In genetic analysis, Affymetrix’s technologies are highly complementary and present new opportunities for us in targeted clinical and applied markets.”

Affymetrix's portfolio includes a range of antibodies, multiplex RNA, and protein and single-cell assays which serve companies in both the flow cytometry market segment as well as in applications including single-cell biology, immunotherapy and infectious disease research.

'Highly sensible bolt-on'

Since the $15.8bn acquisition of Life Technologies in 2014​, Thermo Fisher has continued to look to expand its bioprocessing tools portfolio, buying single-use cell culture tech firm ASI for $300m​ last February, and allegedly bidding for Pall Corporation​, later acquired by Danaher.

This latest bolt-on was described as “highly sensible on all fronts”​ and making “total strategic sense,”​ by Evercore ISI analyst Ross Muken.

“While some Thermo Fisher holders had hoped for a larger transaction, we view tuck-in deals such as Affymetrix as generating superior returns and more in-line with what we should expect to see from management going forward,”​ he noted.

Jefferies analyst Brandon Couillard also welcomed the deal, saying in a note the addition of complementary cellular and genetic analysis offerings will enable Thermo Fisher to expand into new markets.

“Affymetrix’s eBioscience unit manufacturers research products - antibodies, reagents - for immunoassays and flow cytometry, a market where Thermo Fisher has a relatively small presence today.”

Affymetrix has 1,100 employees, annual revenues of $350m and sales and distribution operations primarily in the US, Europe and Asia with manufacturing facilities in Cleveland, San Diego, Vienna and Singapore.

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