Thermo Fisher Scientific plans to acquire point-of-care molecular diagnostics firm Mesa Biotech for up to $550 million, the company said on Tuesday.
Under the terms of a definitive agreement, Thermo Fisher will pay approximately $450 million in cash and up to an additional $100 million in cash if certain milestones are met after the acquisition.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter. Following the acquisition, Mesa Biotech will become part of Thermo Fisher's Life Sciences Solutions business segment.
Mesa Biotech, which is based in San Diego, has approximately 500 employees and sells a PCR-based rapid point-of-care platform for infectious disease diagnostics, including tests for COVID, influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus, and Strep A. In 2020, the company had approximately $45 million in revenue.
Two weeks ago, the the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert to clinical labs and healthcare providers, saying that Mesa's COVID test, along with coronavirus tests from Thermo Fisher and Applied DNA Sciences, may yield false-positive results if certain mutations are present in the viral genome.
The company also won $13 million in funding from HHS's Biomedical Advances Research and Development Authority (BARDA) last year for the development of a rapid point-of-care test for SARS-CoV-2 and influenza.
"The addition of Mesa Biotech's easy-to-use, rapid PCR-based test is highly complementary to our existing offering and will further help us meet the continuing demand for COVID-related testing while we work to rapidly scale and develop point-of-care tests for other infectious diseases in the future," Thermo Fisher Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer Mark Stevenson said in a statement.
"Mesa's innovative, rapid PCR platform technology, combining PCR accuracy with mobility and test results in 30 minutes, has already played a meaningful role in the collective efforts combating the pandemic," said Mesa Biotech President and CEO Ingo Chakravarty, who took the helm of the firm last April. "Thermo Fisher's scale, innovation, and global reach will allow us to more significantly amplify the impact our technology will have on human health, during the pandemic, and far beyond."
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Genomeweb.