Thermo announces $17.4B deal to buy CRO

April 15, 2021

Thermo Fisher has secured an acquisition aimed at helping the company grow its clout in pharma.

This week, the company announced plans to buy PPD, a North Carolina-based contract research organization, in a deal worth $17.4 billion.

The deal is the latest in a string of major CRO-related hookups in the last few years. In February, for example, Icon and PRA Health tied up in a megamerger worth $12 billion. 

Thermo has also been on a roll with its strategic deal-making. In 2019, the company bought Brammer Bio, which specializes in viral vectors for gene therapies, for $1.7 billion. Two years earlier, Thermo snapped up Patheon, a contract drug manufacturer, to help it become an end-to-end CDMO.

Thermo’s CEO said the new deal with PPD is a “natural extension” of its current pharma capabilities.

The company is also in the midst of pumping $600 million into its pharma manufacturing capital investments between now and 2022, a strategy partially fueled by COVID-19 related work.