Thermo Fisher makes quiet bet on cannabis

Calgary Herald - - FINANCIAL POST - GE­OFF ZOCHODNE gzo­[email protected]­tion­al­post.com Twit­ter.com/ Ge­of­fZo­chodne

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.

BRENT LEWIN/BLOOMBERG

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.

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