Thermo Fisher Buys Mesa Biotech for a Total Deal of $550 Million

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Photo courtesy of Thermo Fisher. 

Thermo Fisher Scientific, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, is acquiring Mesa Biotech for about $450 million in cash. There is also an additional $100 million in cash after certain milestones are hit.

Mesa Biotech, based in San Diego, California, is a privately held molecular diagnostic company. It has developed and markets a PCR-based rapid point-of-care testing platform for infectious diseases, including SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), flu A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Strep A. Mesa has about 500 employees and in 2020 reported revenue of about $45 million.

Its Accula Flu A/FluB, RSV and Strep A tests were granted 510(k) clearance and Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendments (CLIA) waivers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Accula System also received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for COVID-19 in vitro testing and is currently available in patient care settings. It offers results in about 30 minutes.

The Accula Strep A test is the third molecular POC diagnostic on the Accula platform to receive FDA clearance and CLIA waiver. The earlier ones were Flu A/Flu B and RSV.

“Mesa Biotech’s innovative platform will enable us to accelerate the availability of reliable and accurate advanced molecular diagnostics at the point of care,” said Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Thermo Fisher. “Since the start of the pandemic, Thermo Fisher has acted quickly to provide support to the scientists and healthcare professionals at the frontlines of combating COVID-19.”

He went on to say, “The addition of Mesa Biotech’s easy-to-use, rapid PCR-based test is highly complementary to our existing offering and will further help us meet the continuing demand for COVID-related testing while we work to rapidly scale and develop point-of-care tests for other infectious diseases in the future.”

Last week, Thermo Fisher completed its acquisition of Henogen SA, Groupe Novasep SAS’s viral vector manufacturing business in Belgium. That deal was for €725 million in cash. That was a string of deals over the last couple years to bolster its viral vector manufacturing for use in gene and cell therapies. Other acquisitions in that space include Brammer Bio for $1.7 billion in March 2019, and the investment of $50 million in a manufacturing site the same year in St. Louis County. In August 2017, the company acquired contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Patheon for $7.2 billion.

Thermo Fisher has long held a large role in the clinical diagnostic space with reagents, assays and equipment, and the acquisition of Mesa is just another arrow in its quiver.

“I am extremely proud of the remarkable accomplishments Mesa Biotech has achieved to date and excited about the prospects of becoming a part of Thermo Fisher,” said Ingo Chakravarty, president and chief executive officer of Mesa. “Mesa’s innovative rapid PCR platform technology, combining PCR accuracy with mobility and test results in 30 minutes, has already played a meaningful role in the collective efforts combating the pandemic. Thermo Fisher’s scale, innovation and global reach will allow us to more significantly amplify the impact our technology will have on human health, during the pandemic, and far beyond.”

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