Thermo Fisher makes quiet bet on cannabis
TORONTO The Canadian cannabis industry has managed to attract another Fortune 500 company, although not in the way some might have been expecting.
On Friday, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., a leading provider of lab equipment, announced it is offering scientists in Canada a wide variety of products that could be used for cannabis testing.
In doing so, the Waltham, Mass.based company appears to be trying to tap into a different sort of marijuana-related market, one that is connected to analyzing and ensuring the quality of cannabis, not just the sale of it.
“Thermo Fisher Scientific is supporting solutions for compliance with cannabis testing regulations in Canada by providing complete workflows and technologies to equip and supply licensed Canadian analytical labs with everything they need to start or scale laboratory operations and produce reliable results,” said Dan Shine, president of analytical instruments at Thermo Fisher, in a release.
“The workflows will enable the end-user to collect data, proof statements and application notes leveraged from key private, fullylicensed laboratories in Canada that are focused on development, validation, accreditation and sample preparation.”
Thermo Fisher’s move looks to be a quiet bet on the Canadian cannabis industry, albeit by a company that has around 70,000 employees worldwide, reported revenue of more than US$20 billion for 2017, and a market cap of more than $100 billion as of Friday.
It was formed in 2006 after a merger between Thermo Electron Corp. and Fisher Scientific International Inc. In 2013, the combined firm agreed to buy Life Technologies Corp. for about US$13.6 billion, a deal Thermo Fisher said would create “an unrivalled leader in serving research, specialty diagnostics and applied markets.”
Thermo Fisher’s decision comes just weeks away from Canada’s legalizing of recreational cannabis. It also follows the announcement in August that U.S.-based alcohol giant Constellation Brands Inc. would invest billions more into Canadian pot producer Canopy Growth Corp.
According to Thermo Fisher, the range of its “workflows” — made up of its “consumables, instruments and software” — could allow scientists to test for THC content and microbial contaminants, among other things. “Thermo Fisher Scientific is supporting regulatory laboratories, contract research organizations and licensed dealers, producers and suppliers across this emerging sector with a diverse and comprehensive product portfolio that offers complete workflows, from sample preparation to analytical methods, for the analysis of cannabis matrices to the testing standards set by Health Canada,” a release said.
It is not the first sign of interest shown by Thermo Fisher in the Canadian marijuana industry. In 2017, it was announced that one of the company’s subsidiaries was partnering on a “Centre of Excellence in Plant Based Medicine Analytics” with the testing lab owned by British Columbia-based cannabis company Valens GroWorks Corp.
An employee uses Thermo Fisher equipment at a lab in Mongolia. The U.S. company is offering scientists in Canada a wide variety of products that could be used for cannabis testing.