One pandemic, $2 billion, 3 months: Top COVID-19 player Thermo Fisher posts hefty Q3 revenue

Thermo Fisher Scientific headquarters
Thermo Fisher’s life sciences solutions and specialty diagnostics segments saw the largest gains, bringing in an extra $1.72 billion and $550 million, respectively, compared to the prior year. (Thermo Fisher)

As a top producer of diagnostic test kits, laboratory hardware and supplies, Thermo Fisher Scientific has been a major player in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic almost from the start—and now, the company has shown exactly how major. 

From July through September, Thermo Fisher collected $2 billion in coronavirus-related revenue alone, fueling a 36% year-over-year increase in overall sales. In total, the company’s third-quarter revenue topped $8.52 billion, up from $6.27 billion during the same period in 2019.

Besides the pandemic sales boost, Thermo Fisher saw its base businesses return to growth as many countries began to reopen their economies during the quarter, with some doing so despite rising numbers of new daily infections.

Thermo Fisher’s life sciences solutions and specialty diagnostics segments saw the largest gains, bringing in an extra $1.72 billion and $550 million, respectively, compared to the prior year. 

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"Our teams executed very well to build on our leadership in supporting the global pandemic response and also captured opportunities to grow our base business,” Chairman, President and CEO Marc Casper said in a statement.

RELATED: Thermo Fisher builds $40M coronavirus test tube manufacturing facility in 6 weeks

"We've continued to meet COVID-related customer demand by launching new products across our company, such as tests and automated workflows to accurately diagnose the virus and enable society's return to work and school,” Casper said. “At the same time, we're adding new capabilities, including scaling up production of sample collection products and essential laboratory supplies as well as increasing our pharma services capacity to support new therapies and vaccines.”

Revenue from lab products and services also grew, adding $490 million—although total sales of the company’s analytical instruments fell just below last year’s mark, to $1.34 billion compared to $1.36 billion.

Over the third quarter, Thermo Fisher launched a new solution for automating high-throughput molecular testing for COVID-19 and increased production of viral transport media in Europe. The company also opened a new bioproduction facility for making single-use products for biologics development at its center based in Suzhou, China.

RELATED: Thermo Fisher's $12.5B deal for Qiagen falls through, as COVID-19 test demand lights new path forward

The quarter also saw the collapse of its attempted takeover of Dutch diagnostics manufacturer Qiagen—which has seen its own value rise over the course of the pandemic. 

While an $11.5 billion deal was agreed to in early March after months of speculation and rumor, the spread of COVID-19 and skyrocketing global demand for testing shortly thereafter gave investors second thoughts

Thermo Fisher had hoped to sweeten its offer with an extra billion dollars, but the proposal fell through by mid-August. Qiagen has since reported 26% growth in net diagnostics sales for the third quarter to $481 million—outpacing even its own predictions of 16% to 21% that it laid down in July.

RELATED: FDA flags accuracy issues with Thermo Fisher's COVID-19 test kit and software

Moving forward, Thermo Fisher recently announced two new antibody diagnostics for COVID-19—a total antibody assay and an IgG-specific quantitative test—to complement its molecular testing offerings. 

The company’s open-platform OmniPATH total antibody ELISA test was developed with the Mayo Clinic and WuXi Diagnostics and has been granted an emergency authorization by the FDA. 

Meanwhile, the automated EliA IgG test is currently under agency review. Designed to measure antibody strength and concentrations, the test has received a CE mark and is available in the U.S. for research use only.

"The past nine months have been nothing short of incredible for our company, and I'm truly humbled by our colleagues around the world who are making a meaningful and positive impact on society through their work,” Casper said. “We're on track to deliver a record year, and importantly, positioning our company for an even brighter future."

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