Q&A: Marc Casper, EVP, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Merger created a life sciences distribution, tools and reagents behemoth.

Chris Anderson
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On November 9, Thermo Electorn Corp. and Fisher Scientific International Inc. completed their merger and, in the process, created a life sciences distribution, tools and reagents behemoth that counts more than $9 billion in annual sales and in excess of 30,000 employees worldwide. Chief Editor Chris Anderson recently caught a few spare moments of Executive Vice President Marc Casper's time to discuss the merger.
DDN: Now that the merger is complete, what changes will both Thermo and Fisher cus­tomers notice?
Casper: Obviously our com­pany name has changed and our company will have two premier brands: The Fisher Scientific brand which is synonymous with customer convenience and supply chain efficiency brand; and the Thermo Scientific brand which is how we have evolved the Thermo Electron brand will represent all of our high-tech instruments soft­ware equipment and consumables. So in a way, the change will be that Thermo Scientific repre­sents a broader portfolio to help our customers.
DDN: What portions of the market do you think show great promise?
Casper: We are certainly excited by the work­flows in the protein science area where we have very strong protein reagents and protein chemistries—that come from what was Fisher Scientific—combined with the mass spectrom­etry leadership on the technology side from what was Thermo Electron.
DDN: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the new company?
Casper: What is very nice about this business combination is that most of these businesses are extremely complementary. So the typical challenges of integrating large acquisitions and mergers [is easier], since the two companies had a complementary set of activities. Obviously we are combining our two corporate offices and senior management structures and there are a lot of people work­ing hard on those things. The day-to-day business is very much busi­ness as usual.
DDN: Where is the biggest oppor­tunity for Thermo Fisher in the market?
Casper: Maybe the way to start to answer that question is to ask: why did we put the companies togeth­er? When we looked [at the two] companies, they were healthy com­panies that were successful at the time we contemplated the merger. Our philosophy is you want to put two strong companies together. You don't want to have a situation where one is weak and you end up sucking all your time fixing it or two companies are weak and using M&A to fix it.
Rather, you have two compa­nies that have very good organic growth, were consolidating the industry with strong financial results and bright prospects.
Clearly, in the pharmaceutical and biotech customer segment, our customers in are looking to drive efficiency and streamline the number of relationships they have. We also know that lab managers are under a lot of pressure to drive efficiency and they are looking to get better data out of their labo­ratories. We think this [merger] allows us to bring more efficiency and better solutions to the mar­ketplace.
From an innovation view, the end-users are really looking for the new breakthroughs and we have the scale to continue to fund those kinds of breakthrough products. If you look at things like the LTQ Orbitrap—a revolutionary product in this field—size helps you make those kinds of bets that ultimately have an impact on advancing sci­ence.

Chris Anderson

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