Thermo Electron Reaches the Entrepreneurial Endgame
Thermo Electron is finally reversing course in its innovative, much talked about, but seldom imitated strategy of spin-offs. With almost two dozen public subsidiaries, most lacking critical mass and adequate liquidity, Thermo's new management is pulling them back in.
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In under a year and a half, Viasys has transformed itself from a collection of 14 independent device companies to an integrated public company operating in four segments of the hospital market: respiratory, critical care, neurocare, and medical/surgical devices. As the successor to the companies that formerly made up the Thermo Biomedical division of Thermo Electron, it starts out with some unique challenges. It's already a public company with almost $400 million in revenues, so it has to be ever mindful of investors' expectations for growth. But it's virtually a start-up in terms of creating a corporate infrastructure and processes. Perhaps the greatest inherited weakness of Viasys is a lack of product-planning skills; Thermo Biomedical hadn't introduced a new product in seven years. Now Viasys must fill pipeline gaps with products that will appeal to its cost-conscious hospital constituency but still yield higher margins. Its middling size adds to the challenge; it's not big enough to afford a product failure, nor can it compete where financial might and product breadth are advantages. But Viasys believes it can handily apply the speed and maneuverability of a small firm to manufacture and market a large company-style product portfolio.
Data presented at AAAI meeting show reduced annualized asthma exacerbation rates across all patient populations, but doctors are unlikely to switch patients served well by existing biologics.