Thermo Fisher Scientific has signed an agreement to acquire US-based Mesa Biotech, a molecular diagnostics company that developed rapid Covid-19 test kits, for $450m.

Mesa Biotech developed a PCR-based rapid point-of-care testing platform to detect infectious diseases, including SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and Strep A.

Once the deal closes, Thermo Fisher has agreed to pay an additional $100m after Mesa Biotech achieves certain milestones.

Mesa Biotech’s portfolio includes Accula Flu A/Flu B, RSV, and Strep A tests, which have secured 510(k) clearance and Laboratory Improvements Amendments (CLIA) waivers from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Accula System also received emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the FDA for SARS-CoV-2 in vitro diagnostic testing. It is now available in patient-care settings and offers results within 30 minutes with higher accuracy compared to other rapid tests available in the market.

Through the acquisition, Thermo Fisher can now have access to Mesa Biotech’s portfolio of PCR amplification-based diagnostics.

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Thermo Fisher Scientific executive vice-president and chief operating officer Mark Stevenson said: “Mesa Biotech’s innovative platform will enable us to accelerate the availability of reliable and accurate advanced molecular diagnostics at the point of care. Since the start of the pandemic, Thermo Fisher has acted quickly to provide support to the scientists and healthcare professionals at the frontlines of combating Covid-19.

“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-19-related testing while we work to rapidly scale and develop point-of-care tests for other infectious diseases in the future.”

The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval, and is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.

After the deal is completed, Mesa Biotech will become part of Thermo Fisher’s Life Sciences Solutions Segment.

Last October, Thermo Fisher introduced Gibco CTS Rotea Counterflow Centrifugation System, a modular, closed-cell therapy processing system, which supports scalable, cost-effective cell therapy development and manufacturing.