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Interview Synopsis

Thermo Fisher – outsourced CGT manufacturing & expansion opportunities

  • Public Equity
  • Healthcare
  • North America

Thermo Fisher continues to be well positioned in the CGT market, a former senior director at the company told Third Bridge Forum, despite their reservations about its recent acquisition of global contract research organisation, PPD.

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Thermo Fisher well positioned in CGT market amid PPD acquisition

In the Interview with Third Bridge, the specialist said that although Thermo’s acquisition of PPD “made sense”, it was still a “scary one”. Patheon and Brammer were more logical choices for integration and cross-selling across the organisation, the specialist said. However, they acknowledged that Thermo is “very savvy” when it comes to acquisitions and, long term, they expect PPD to integrate well into its business. 

The acquisition should also keep Thermo strategically ahead of Dabaher and Bio-Techne, despite moves by both companies to increase their competitiveness. Dabaher’s recent acquisition of Aldevron was a great move, the specialist said, while Bio-Techne is building a big catalogue of “high-quality, well-regarded” products – although the specialist questioned whether Bio-Techne was offering any real solutions with them. “They just have a catalog of products and services, but they have not done a good job at making a story out of their offering and driving cross selling abilities.” 

The specialist also discussed the potential for Thermo Fisher to expand into cryopreservation – the use of very low temperatures to preserve structurally intact living cells and tissues. The specialist said that while the company would like to enter this space, it faces an “extremely difficult” task in breaking market leader BioLife’s dominance. “At this point, BioLife is so entrenched and is so the default product that people go to that it’s a hard one to keep going after”. 

The specialist also remarked on wider market trends related to cell and gene therapy. The gene therapy space is more mature compared to cell therapy, the specialist said, although it is currently witnessing significant supply constraints. Contract development and manufacturing companies (CDMOs) like Thermo are as a result looking to expand their capabilities from a manufacturing standpoint. Cell therapy is similarly seeing more investment as companies try to increase manufacturing capabilities, although the specialist observed there was more “hesitancy around what to invest in” because the workflows related to cell therapy have yet to be defined. 

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