Thermo Fisher to absorb proteomics player Olink in $3.1B deal

Thermo Fisher Scientific is putting down a premium to extend its reach in protein research. It has moved to acquire Olink, a Swedish provider of proteomics analysis equipment and services for tracking down and developing biomarkers.

Through a deal pegged at $3.1 billion, Thermo Fisher has signed on to pay $26 for each of Olink’s Nasdaq shares—for a price that comes to about 74% above the company’s previous closing value. The transaction includes the absorption of $143 million in Olink’s net cash, alongside the company’s international operations in Boston, Tokyo and Shanghai.

“The acquisition of Olink underscores the profound impact that proteomics is having as our customers continue to advance life science research and precision medicine,” Thermo Fisher President and CEO Marc Casper said in the company's announcement.

Olink’s proprietary Proximity Extension Assay looks to bring high-throughput protein analysis to laboratories’ previously installed qPCR instruments and next-generation sequencers. According to the companies, the assay is built on a library of more than 5,300 protein biomarker targets and has been used in about 1,400 scientific publications.

Olink recently highlighted three articles published in the journal Nature that employed its Explore platform and data from the U.K. Biobank. The company’s system was used to measure around 3,000 proteins in samples from over 54,000 participants. 

One paper linked more than 14,000 genetic associations with protein expression levels and helped map their relationships with diseases and demographic factors, while another included a biopharma consortium from AstraZeneca that connected proteins to rare genetic variants.

“Olink’s proven and transformative innovation is highly complementary to our leading mass spectrometry and life sciences platforms,” Casper said. With the deal slated to close in mid-2024, Thermo Fisher plans to fold the outfit into its life sciences solutions segment.

Olink’s most recent earnings report listed $29.4 million in second-quarter revenue, with more than half coming from its services, and $36.3 million in total operating expenses. In its August release, the company forecasted that its full-year 2023 revenue would land between $192 million and $200 million. 

Meanwhile, Thermo Fisher said it believes Olink is on course to pass that $200 million mark in annual sales by the end of 2024, and that it expects to see organic growth in the mid-teens thereafter. 

The company is also planning for about $125 million in adjusted operating income, based on a combination of revenue and cost synergies, in the fifth year following the deal. Olink lists a global headcount of 667 employees, including 224 on its commercial team.

Thermo Fisher said it plans to commence a tender offer to acquire Olink’s outstanding shares while funding the acquisition using cash-on-hand and debt financing.