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Thermo Fisher Bets On Phadia

Diagnostics: Deal gives instrument firm a stake in allergy and autoimmunity testing

by Marc S. Reisch
May 23, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 21

Credit: Phadia
The Phadia 250 test system can process 60 blood samples per hour.
Credit: Phadia
The Phadia 250 test system can process 60 blood samples per hour.

Thermo Fisher Scientific has agreed to pay $3.5 billion to buy Phadia, an Uppsala, Sweden-based maker of allergy and autoimmunity diagnostic tests, from the European private equity firm Cinven.

The deal, which Thermo expects to close toward the end of the year, will give the scientific instrument maker a global supplier of blood-test systems with $525 million in annual sales, more than $200 million in operating income, and 1,500 employees.

Thermo CEO Marc N. Casper says the purchase is “a major step forward in our strategy to enhance Thermo’s global presence in specialty diagnostics.” He adds that Phadia “has significant growth opportunities in the large, underpenetrated U.S. market and can leverage our strong presence in emerging geographies.”

Founded in 1967, Phadia has belonged to Cinven since 2007. The sale will bring Cinven a profit of more than $1.4 billion.

Phadia says sales of its allergy tests account for 85% of its revenue and are growing by 9% annually. Such tests, based on blood samples, are an alternative to the widely used but irritating scratch tests in the U.S. Phad ia says it also has a development pipeline of new biomarkers for autoimmunity testing.

Thermo will make use of its existing infrastructure and distribution channels to market Phadia products, Casper told analysts in a conference call after the deal was announced. By 2014, he expects to generate an additional $15 million in operating income from Phadia by leveraging Thermo’s global infrastructure and another $20 million by taking advantage of existing sales channels.

For Thermo, the acquisition will add a fourth leg to a diagnostics business that now includes microbiology, anatomical pathology, and specialty assay segments. Together, they generated sales of $1.4 billion in 2010.

The deal to acquire Phadia wraps up a busy few days for Thermo. On May 13, the company completed the $2.1 billion acquisition of chromatography instrument maker Dionex, and a few days later it bought Sterilin, a maker of single-use products for life sciences customers (see page 22).



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