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Thermo, Annoyed Over Asset Management, Bets Labs Will Let It Oversee Their Tools

San Francisco — Will scientists trust Thermo Electron to manage all of their laboratory equipment?

“The customer has indicated there is a need for these types of services,” Marijn Dekkers, Thermo president and CEO, told BioCommerce Week at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference here this week.

Thermo is targeting the business of laboratory equipment-asset management. As part of that strategy, the company purchased US Counseling Services of Brookfield, Wis., in April for $75 million.

“When I was running Thermo without USCS, I was extremely annoyed that Pfizer would not call Thermo to come and repair a mass spec, but they would call USCS, who would then call us to say, ‘You have to go to Pfizer to repair a mass spec,’” Dekkers said. “We thought we want to own that. We didn’t want to let somebody maneuver themselves between us and that customer, and we think it is a valid business model.”

So, now, with USCS, Dekkers said it is Thermo on the phone, calling mass spec competitors Applied Biosystems or Waters to repair an instrument.

“There is some satisfaction in that,” he said. “But, if you don’t do it well, you are immediately kicked out.”

Thermo’s asset-management efforts are part of a strategy to extend the company beyond instrument sales. While 65 percent of its sales are in equipment and embedded software, 25 percent of Thermo’s revenues come from sales of informatics and services.

— Mo Krochmal ([email protected])

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