Thermo Fisher acquires Life Technologies

16 April, 2013

Commentators of the DNA sequencing sector will no doubt be peering into the future this afternoon to understand the consequences of the latest development in the sector.


It was announced Monday morning that Life Technologies has been purchased by Thermo Fisher for $13.6bn. Whilst this acquisition is not totally unexpected, it is Life Tech’s DNA sequencing technology - Ion Torrent - that is of particular interest in this case. 

Ion Torrent’s PGM instrument has been taking an increasingly large share of the market and competing directly with the market leader Illumina. The PGM’s novel semiconductor sequencing technology is potentially disrupting a sector heading ever closer to clinical applications.

This development comes only a few months after the failed attempt by Roche to purchase Illumina. At the time analysts saw this as Roche attempting to take a greater share of the DNA sequencing market in a move that would strengthen their existing technology (454 Life Sciences), complementing the Swiss company’s activities in both the pharma and diagnostic areas.

The PGM’s novel semi-conductor sequencing technology is potentially disrupting a sector.

Thermo Fisher Chief Executive Marc Casper is quoted as saying "We're very enthusiastic about the potential of Life Technologies’ next-generation sequencing platform,” This will no doubt cause many in the DNA sequencing area to sit up and take notice and watch this merger with greater interest.

Another interesting facet of the auction held last week was the bid from Sigma Aldrich, perhaps signaling their desire to offer their own range of hardware alongside their existing biochemical reagent kits. This will certainly not have gone unnoticed throughout the life science industry and may herald another wave of acquisitions. Johnson & Johnson’s Q1 earnings will be released today and a further update may be given on the potential sale of the Ortho Clinical Diagnostics Business.


Nick Rollings and Paul Wilkins,



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