Thermo Fisher Scientific has agreed to acquire US-based molecular diagnostic company Mesa Biotech for around $450m in cash.

Mesa Biotech is also eligible to receive up to an additional $100m cash from Thermo Fisher, based on the achievement of certain milestones following the close of the deal.

The company has developed and commercialised a PCR-based rapid point-of-care testing platform to identify infectious diseases such as SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Strep A.

Mesa Biotech has already secured 510(k) clearance and Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendments (CLIA) waivers from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Accula Flu A/Flu B, RSV and Strep A tests.

Mesa Biotech’s Accula system used for SARS-CoV-2 in vitro diagnostic testing

The company has also secured emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the FDA for the Accula system for SARS-CoV-2 in vitro diagnostic testing. Designed for use in patient care settings, the system offers results within 30 minutes.

Based in San Diego of California, Mesa Biotech employs around 500 people and expected to generate revenues of up to $45m this year.

Thermo Fisher Scientific chief operating officer and executive vice president 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.”

Subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approval, the deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. Once the deal concludes, the acquired business will be included in Thermo Fisher’s life sciences solutions segment.

In August 2020, Thermo Fisher opened its new production facility in Lenexa, Kansas, to manufacture viral transport media (VTM) for Covid-19 sample collection.