Way back in January, Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO), the world’s largest maker of scientific tools, monitored the speedy sequencing in China of an unnamed coronavirus that would soon blaze around the world. Gearing up to produce diagnostic test kits and keep hospitals and labs supplied with the instruments to read them, the Waltham, Mass.-based company raced to deliver 5 millions tests per week by mid-April, as did two other giants in biopharma, Roche (RHHBY) and Abbott (ABT).
Now Thermo Fisher’s goal is 10 million per week. Shortages of supplies needed to make or interpret the tests have eased. Looking ahead to the fall, the company expects new arenas for its testing will create new demand. Businesses have begun to test — and retest — their returning employees. Schools, colleges, and universities plan to test their students and staff. Even professional sports leagues want to repeatedly test athletes competing in events where they can’t be socially distant.
Mark Stevenson, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s chief operating officer, talked with STAT about the different world the company is facing and how it’s adapting its business to meet those needs. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.