Thermo Fisher expands pharma service business with $17.4bln PPD acquisition

Thermo Fisher has doubled down on boosting its pharma service business


Medical device maker Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc said on Thursday it would acquire contract researcher PPD Inc for $17.4 billion as it looks to add more muscle to its pharmaceutical services business.

Thermo Fisher, the world's largest maker of scientific instruments, will pay $47.50 per share - a premium of 10.6% to PPD's Wednesday closing price.

Over the past few years, Thermo Fisher has doubled down on boosting its pharma service business that provides raw material for new treatments and clinical trial services with acquisitions of gene and cell therapy maker Brammer Bio and Patheon, a Dutch manufacturer of drugs for clinical trials.

The PPD deal is expected to add $1.40 to Thermo Fisher's adjusted earnings per share in the first 12 months after its close, expected by the end of 2021, Thermo Fisher said.

PPD, which went public last year, helps companies in the drug development process through preclinical consulting, designing and conducting clinical trials. It was hired by Moderna Inc to oversee its COVID-19 trial sites.

The deal should also help PPD win more work as the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the need for key suppliers for drugmakers, said Cowen analyst Doug Schenkel, as Thermo Fisher already supplies drug ingredients to many in the pharma and biotech industry.

Contract research organizations (CROs) which were hurt last year after clinical trials were disrupted due to the pandemic, have seen a resurgence in demand as drugmakers and governments invest in newer treatments.

"Pharma and biotechs are reassessing strength of their (clinical development) partner network and are looking to consolidate their activities with fewer and trusted partners," Thermo Fisher Chief Executive Officer Mark Casper.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla, Manas Mishra and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Shinjini Ganguli) ((; +91 8061822700;))

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