One of the biggest manufacturers of diagnostics technologies plans to acquire a major European diagnostics player in a deal valued at $11.5 billion.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher Scientific said Tuesday that it would acquire Venlo, Netherlands-based Qiagen in the deal, which would also include the assumption of $1.4 billion of net debt. The deal comes the day after another major life sciences acquisition deal, when Gilead Sciences said Monday that it would spend $4.9 billion to acquire Forty Seven, a cancer immunotherapy company.

Shares of Qiagen were up by about 15% on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday morning following the announcement. Thermo Fisher’s shares were up by about 4%.

“This acquisition provides us with the opportunity to leverage our industry-leading capabilities and R&D expertise to accelerate innovation and address emerging healthcare needs,” Thermo Fisher CEO Marc Casper said in a statement. “For shareholders, we expect the transaction to be immediately accretive and to generate significant cost and revenue synergies.”

Qiagen sells products designed to isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from blood. Thermo Fisher said the company’s “strong presence” in molecular diagnostics would enable it to expand its specialty diagnostics offering, including in infectious diseases, in addition to expanding its geographic presence. Qiagen has been active in developing diagnostic test kits for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. On Feb. 26, it announced that it had shipped a newly designed kit, the QIAstat-Dx Respiratory Panel 2019-nCoV test kit to four hospitals in China for testing.

“This strategic step with Thermo Fisher will enable us to enter a promising new erea and will give our employees the opportunity to have an even greater impact,” Qiagen interim CEO Thierry Bernard said in a statement. “The combination is designed to deliver significant cash value to our shareholders, while enabling us to accelerate the expansion of our solutions to provide customers worldwide with breakthroughs that advance our knowledge about the science of life and improve health outcomes.”

Thermo Fisher’s last major acquisition was in March of last year, when it spent $1.7 billion to acquire Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Brammer Bio, a contract manufacturer specializing in gene therapies.

Photo: designer491, Getty Images


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