Home 5 Lab Industry Advisor 5 Essential 5 M&A and Strategic Deals: Thermo Fisher, BD, and Quest Use M&A to Advance Post-COVID-19 Strategies

M&A and Strategic Deals: Thermo Fisher, BD, and Quest Use M&A to Advance Post-COVID-19 Strategies

by | Aug 1, 2023 | Essential, Industry Buzz-lir, Laboratory Industry Report

Diagnostics companies that invested heavily in COVID-19 products are relying on M&A transactions to restructure and transition.

Diagnostics companies that cashed in on the COVID-19 test boom used their unprecedented profits to make strategic acquisitions. Now that the well has run dry, many of the firms that invested so heavily in COVID-19 products are relying on M&A transactions to restructure and transition from pandemic to endemic conditions. This month, three of the industry’s biggest companies—Thermo Fisher Scientific, Quest Diagnostics, and Becton Dickinson (BD)—announced or closed significant deals. 

Thermo Fisher Strengthens Clinical Research Capacity with CorEvitas Buy

In 2021, Thermo Fisher Scientific paid $550 million to ramp up its COVID-19 production capacity by acquiring three San Diego test-making facilities from Mesa Biotech. What seemed like a wise investment at the time came up lemons when demand for COVID-19 tests plummeted. In 2022, the company’s year-over-year total COVID-19 revenues declined approximately 60 percent from $9.23 billion to $3.11 billion in 2022 —with Q4 bringing in only $37 million.1,2 After a series of job cuts, Thermo announced in May that it was closing the three San Diego test-making facilities for good in June.3

On July 6, the diagnostics powerhouse began its move forward by announcing that it has reached an agreement to acquire data intelligence firm CorEvitas for $912.5 million in cash. Adding CorEvitas, a provider of regulatory-grade evidence for biotech and pharma companies with an expected $110 million in 2023 revenues, will complement Thermo’s clinical research business, noted Thermo CEO Marc Casper in a statement. “There is strong market demand for real-world evidence which improves decision-making and reduces the time and cost associated with drug development.”4

Becton Dickinson Sells Off Sterilization Instruments Business

BD is another billion-dollar diagnostics giant seeking to recover from the crash of the COVID-19 test market. The firm had been one of the most active players in M&A dealmaking in recent years—but, after a series of acquisitions in 2022, including the $1.5 billion buyout of Parata Systems, BD has turned into a seller. On June 21, the New Jersey-based medical technology company announced  that it was selling off its surgical instrumentation unit, including its V. Mueller, Snowden-Pencer, and Genesis product lines, to medical equipment company STERIS. As part of the sale, the sterilization and surgical instrument manufacturer will also acquire three of BD’s manufacturing facilities located in Missouri, Ohio, and Germany. The $540 million purchase price is more than triple the $170 million the BD unit is expected to generate in 2023.5

Since taking over in January 2020, CEO Tom Polen has worked to transform BD  into a faster-growing, higher-margin company. The STERIS sale is part of the restructuring and, according to a company statement, “advances the ‘Simplify’ pillar of the BD 2025 strategy and is an important step in simplifying BD’s product portfolio and manufacturing network,” as well as further advancing the company’s focus on high-growth areas. The sale reduces, but doesn’t eliminate BD’s surgery business, which at $1.4 billion in sales achieved 8 percent year-over-year growth in 2022, the second highest of any BD division.5,6

Quest Boosts Personalized Cancer Testing Position via Haystack Acquisition

Although Quest has remained active in the M&A space during the post-COVID-19 slowdown, most of its acquisitions have been hospital outreach health system lab add-ons. Now, the company has made a potentially significant strategic deal by acquiring former Johns Hopkins personalized cancer testing spinout Haystack Oncology for $300 million in cash up front and up to $150 million more in future milestone payments.7

Announced on April 27, the recently closed acquisition advances Quest’s personalized oncology aspirations, specifically the dynamic minimal residual disease (MRD) liquid biopsy testing segment.8 The gem of the deal is Haystack’s ctDNA-based MRD detection technology, which can help identify patients who might benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy for stage II colon cancer after surgery.9 Quest will begin furnishing MRD testing based on the Haystack technology in 2024, with the initial focus on colorectal, breast, and lung cancers.


    1. https://ir.thermofisher.com/investors/news-events/news/news-details/2022/Thermo-Fisher-Scientific-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-2021-Results/default.aspx

    1. https://ir.thermofisher.com/investors/news-events/news/news-details/2023/Thermo-Fisher-Scientific-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-2022-Results/default.aspx

    1. https://www.fiercebiotech.com/medtech/thermo-fisher-lays-another-218-workers-3-covid-test-making-sites-shutter

    1. https://ir.thermofisher.com/investors/news-events/news/news-details/2023/Thermo-Fisher-Scientific-to-Acquire-CorEvitas/default.aspx

    1. https://investors.bd.com/news-releases/news-release-details/bd-sell-surgical-instrumentation-platform-steris

    1. https://news.bd.com/2021-11-12-BD-to-Highlight-Progress-Against-BD-2025-Strategy-and-Plans-for-Long-Term-Growth

    1. https://newsroom.questdiagnostics.com/2023-04-27-Quest-Diagnostics-to-Acquire-Haystack-Oncology,-Adding-Sensitive-Liquid-Biopsy-Technology-for-Improving-Personalized-Cancer-Care-to-Oncology-Portfolio

    1. https://ir.questdiagnostics.com/press-releases/press-release-details/2023/Quest-Diagnostics-Completes-Acquisition-of-Haystack-Oncology-Adding-Sensitive-MRD-Liquid-Biopsy-Technology-to-Cancer-Diagnostics-Portfolio/

  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2200075


Here’s a summary of all the key M&A diagnostic deals announced or closed in late June through July 2023:      

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Asset Sales

Acquiring Company Target(s) Deal Summary
Thermo Fisher Scientific CorEvitas ●        Price: $912.5 million cash
●        Status: Expected to close by end of year
●        Acquisition of Massachusetts-based provider of real-world evidence for pharma and biotech companies complements Thermo’s clinical research business
Novacyt Yourgene Health ●        Price: Approximately £16.7 million ($21.2 million USD) cash at .522 pence per share
●        Status: Expected to close in Q3
●        Acquisition of UK molecular diagnostics firm that provides prenatal screening, male infertility, thrombosis risk, and cystic fibrosis tests and genomic medicine services for healthcare, research, and biopharma
Applied DNA Sciences Spindle Biotech ●        Price: $625,000 cash up front (adjusted), 750,000 restricted shares of Spindle common stock, as well as a further 1 million shares of Spindle common stock, based on milestone achievements
●        Status: Closed
●        Acquisition allows Applied DNA to combine its LinearDNA™ IVT platform with Spindle’s high-performance RNA polymerase into an integrated platform called LineaIVT™
Laboratory Corporation of America Legacy Health ●        Price: Undisclosed
●        Status: Labcorp to acquire Oregon-based hospital system’s outreach lab facilities and equipment; will manage its inpatient labs and provide staffing, leadership, scientific knowledge, analytics, supply chain services, and support
●        Legacy to maintain ownership and licensure of its hospital labs and central lab building
Quest Diagnostics Haystack Oncology ●        Price: $450 million cash, including $300 million at closing and up to $150 million in future milestone payments
●        Status: Closed
●        Acquisition of ctDNA-based MRD assay developer significantly bolsters Quest’s position in liquid biopsy and oncology
Fortis Life Sciences International Point of Care ●        Price: Undisclosed
●        Status: Closed
●        Acquisition of Toronto-based diagnostic testing component maker enables Fortis to provide customizable, end-to-end immunodiagnostics and molecular diagnostics support
Versiti Quantigen ●        Price: Undisclosed
●        Status: Closed
●        Blood health firm acquires Indiana specialty preclinical and clinical services lab specializing in assay development, biomarker validation, and diagnostic regulatory filings
EDP Biotech New Day Diagnostics ●        Price: N/A
●        Status: Merger agreement; no closing date announced
●        Merger between EDP, developer of ColoPlex multiplexed immunoassay test for early colorectal cancer and precancerous polyp detection, and New Day, developer of direct-to-consumer Biocard celiac disease self-test and tests for infectious diseases, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer
●        New company to retain New Day Diagnostics name under unified leadership structure based in Tennessee
Intus Biosciences Pattern Genomics ●        Price: Undisclosed
●        Status: Closed
●        Microbiome research firm acquires genome analysis software developer, adding machine learning tools for biomarker discovery and patient stratification across large datasets and populations
Genomenon Boston Genetics ●        Price: Undisclosed
●        Status: Closed
●        Acquisition of genomics interpretation and curation firm (and three-year business partner) doubles Genomenon’s genetic science team and accelerates its goal of curating entire human genome
Bio-Techne Lunaphore ●       Price: Undisclosed
●       Status: Closed
●       Acquisition of Swiss spatial biology automation firm following April announcement of strategic partnership to develop a spatial multiomic workflow using Lunaphore’s COMET high-throughput end-to-end spatial biology platform and Spyre antibody panels with Bio-Techne’s RNAscope HiPlex technology
STERIS Becton Dickinson ●        Price: $540 million
●        Status: Expected to close by September 30
●        Sterilization and surgical equipment manufacturer to acquire BD’s V. Mueller, Snowden-Pencer, and Genesis product lines and manufacturing facilities in Missouri, Ohio, and Germany at price over triple units’ yearly revenue

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