Thermo Fisher Scientific preps the laboratory for research, analysis, discovery, or diagnostics. The company makes and distributes analytical instruments, scientific equipment, consumables, and other laboratory supplies. Products range from chromatographs and spectrometers to Erlenmeyer flasks and fume hoods to gene-sequencers. Moving into other areas, it offers testing and manufacturing of drugs, including biologicals. Thermo Fisher also provides specialty diagnostic testing products, as well as clinical analytical tools. The company tallies more than 400,000 customers worldwide. Its key markets are pharmaceutical and biotech, diagnostics and health care, academic and government, and industrial and applied research.


Thermo Fisher Scientific operates in four segments:

The Laboratory Product and Services unit, which generates about 40% of revenue, provides basics for the lab. It sells equipment (refrigerators, ovens, filtration systems), consumables (slides, dishes, flasks), and chemicals (solvents and reagents). It also includes the Research and Safety Market Channel (catalogs and access to more than 650,000 products) and BioPharma Services (clinical trials).

Life Sciences Solutions, about 25% of revenue, provides reagents, instruments, and consumables used in biological and medical research, drug discovery, and drug production. The unit's businesses are Biosciences, Genetic Sciences, Clinical Next-Generation Sequencing, and BioProduction.

Analytical Instruments, about 20% of revenue, supplies instruments, consumables, software, and services. Its businesses are Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry, Chemical Analysis, and Materials and Structural Analysis.

Specialty Diagnostics, about 20% of revenue, offers diagnostic test kits, reagents, culture media, and instruments. Its businesses are Clinical Diagnostics, ImmunoDiagnostics, Anatomical Pathology, Microbiology, Transplant Diagnostics, and the Healthcare Market Channel.

Products from those operational units are sold under Thermo Fisher's five main brands: Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, and Unity Lab Services.

Thermo Fisher makes many of its products and it also works with third-party contractors for manufacturing.

Geographic Reach

Half of Thermo Fisher's revenue comes from its US customers. China is the second biggest single-country market, accounting for 10% of revenue. Other key countries for Thermo Fisher are Japan, the UK, and Germany.

The company operates manufacturing, research and development, administrative, and logistics facilities in about 50 countries outside the US.

Sales and Marketing

Thermo Fisher's sales channels include direct sales, electronic commerce, distributors, and catalogs. Its sales staff numbers about 11,000. The company also offers supply chain management services.

Financial Performance

Thermo Fisher's revenue has risen for seven straight years and profit has increased for four years in a row.

The company's sales rose 8% in 2016 to $18.3 billion from just under $17 billion in 2015. About half of the gain came from acquisitions while currency effects sliced off about $145 million. The company reported strong demand from pharmaceutical and biotech customers and strong growth in Asia. Life Sciences Solutions sales surged 14% on increased sales of biosciences and bioprocess production. Analytical Instruments sales rose 12% from higher sales of chromatography and mass spectrometry equipment.

Thermo Fisher's profit ticked 2% higher to about $2 billion in 2016 from 2015. Higher sales and productivity improvements combined to boost profit, which might have been greater but for higher restructuring and acquisition-related charges in 2016.

Cash flow from operations reached about $3.2 billion in 2016, an increase from $2.8 billion in 2016. Lower investments in working capital and higher income before amortization and depreciation accounted for most of the increase.


Thermo Fisher has been a deal-making machine, spending more than $12 billion on acquisitions in 2016 and 2017. The company has expanded beyond supplying research labs with standard items like graduated cylinders and Bunsen burners to sophisticated equipment such as gene-sequencing and gene-editing tools. It also has added drug testing, including running clinical trials, and drug manufacturing to its portfolio. Thermo Fisher has become something of a one-stop shop for pharmaceutical companies that concentrate on developing drugs but outsource their production.

In 2017 Thermo Fisher acquired Patheon NV and Affymetrix and FEI, both in 2016, in multi-billion deals. The company also had made several smaller deals.

Thermo Fisher hasn't let its M&A department carry the entire load for stocking the product pipeline. The company has kept its research and development cycle going, investing more than $750 million in 2016, up from about $690 million in 2015.

The company in 2016 offered new versions of products like its flagship Orbitrap platform, which helps customers in drug discovery and food safety, forensics, and environmental testing. It released the Scientific Integrion HPIC system for ion chromatography as well as the latest generation of its Ion Torrent sequencing instruments. Two of the company's CRISPR genome editing tools were recognized as Top 10 innovative products for 2016.

Besides tools to conduct research, Thermo Fisher offers its cloud computing platform for storing results. The platform supports the company's gene sequencing and proteomics systems.

Thermo Fisher has its sights set on expanding international sales, particularly in China. Sales in China grew more than 25% in 2016 to account for 10% of the company's revenue. Overall, about 20% of the company's 2016 revenue came from emerging markets, which included stronger sales in India and South Korea. Thermo Fisher has built customer momentum in Asia with new facilities. It opened a BioPharma Services facility in South Korea to help meet increasing demand for clinical trials and a bioproduction development lab at its China Innovation Center in Shanghai.

In 2016 Thermo Fisher took $395 million in charges for restructuring that included headcount reductions and facilities consolidation. It also took $164 million in acquisition-related charges for severance and facilities closures. The company planned another $85 million in restructuring in 2017 that included facilities consolidation.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2017 Thermo Fisher acquired Patheon NV, which offers services from regulatory consulting to making drug ingredients and finished medicines including biological therapies, for $7.2 billion. Patheon had about $1.9 billion in revenue in 2016.

In two major deals in 2016 Thermo Fisher bought FEI and Affymetrix. FEI, acquired for $4.2 billion, added a complementary product mix of electron microscopes to Thermo Fisher's mass spectrometry products. The $1.3 billion deal for Affymetrix brought instruments used to analyze specimens at the cellular and genetic levels to the Thermo Fisher portfolio.

Other 2017 deals included Finesse Solutions Inc., a developer of scalable control automation systems and software for bioproduction, and Core Informatics, a provider of a cloud-based platform for scientific data management.

While it was transacted in 2014, the purchase of Life Technologies for more than $15 billion was major for Thermo Fisher. The deal moved the company to the head of the pack in life sciences tools, particularly the growing field of genetic testing.

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12076 Santa Fe Trail Dr
Lenexa, KS 66215-3594
Phone: 1 (800) 255-6730
Fax: 1 (913) 888-5884


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Manager: Tim C Crippen
  • Director SEC: Seth H Hoogasian
  • Manager: Alan Vangoethem
  • Employees: 4,900

Major Office Locations

  • Lenexa, KS
  • Shawnee Mission, KS

Other Locations

  • Manchester, CT
  • Norcross, GA
  • Muskego, WI