Read the Conversation

EF: From your perspective, do you see 2023 as a challenge or opportunity? 

CD: In every challenge, there is an opportunity. As a global leader in serving science, Thermo Fisher plays a critical role in improving the lives of people across the globe. We are committed to providing accessible and affordable health and well-being solutions. To address long-standing and future public health challenges, we build trusting partnerships globally and provide tailored solutions, services, and support. Our collaborations are tailor-made to improve patient outcomes, positively impact our planet, and bring equitable health for all. Together we can make changes where they are needed most.  

Thermo Fisher is committed to tailored solutions and customer-centricity in its innovative portfolio covering biotech, biopharma, MedTech, diagnostics, and applied industries. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer. We are also focused on developing products that support our customers’ goals.  

EF: Thermo Fisher is actively reducing its carbon footprint by 30%. How are you evolving to net zero emissions by 2050? 

CD: We recently announced two power purchasing agreements to enable 100% renewable electricity across all our current US operations sites by 2026. We are working to make similar investments in renewables in Europe. These projects placed us ahead of schedule for our 30% target, and we subsequently raised our Scope 1 and 2 reduction targets to 50%, aligning with the Paris Agreement and 1.5C pathway. Our overarching commitment is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and we have submitted our targets to the Science Based Target initiative for validation. As a key player in the industry, customers, suppliers, and partners look to us to drive standards and meet industry expectations for sustainability across our operations, product design innovations, and strategic advisory services.  

EF: Can you elaborate on Thermo Fisher Germany’s role in the group’s growth? 

CD: Thermo Fisher globally had strong results in 2022 despite the challenges with the energy crisis and supply chain constraints. We grew by 15%, and organic revenue rose slightly, while our core organic revenue grew by 14%. Our COVID testing revenue for 2022 was $3.11 billion. We released various new products in our mass spectrometry and diagnostics portfolios, hugely impacting the German market.  

Germany is a significant market for Thermo Fisher Scientific. Germany’s market is critical for the MedTech and science industry. We have a dynamic footprint in Germany with 30 sites nationwide, including our latest acquisition of Peprotech that came through last year. Of the 30 operating sites, 13 are manufacturing and warehousing sites. The manufacturing sites are large-scale global producers. We have over 6,000 colleagues in the country, and we are an integrated member of the health ecosystem in Germany. Our partnerships with customers, industry associations, and employees are the key to our success now and in the future.  

We also provide models and lessons that can be replicated across other countries within the company of the things we have learned. We are a very active industry player in government and civil society partnerships. With civil society, we are working together to address critical life science-related topics. Germany is the third-largest medical technology market in the world. The German medical device industry is one of the most lucrative healthcare markets globally, accounting for approximately $44 billion per annum. To remain a market leader, Thermo Fisher remains at the forefront of innovation.  

Our CEO Marc Casper often refers to this time as the golden age of biology. Preventative medicine has been a buzzword for several years in Germany and is extremely promising in terms of reducing burdens on our healthcare systems and improving health outcomes. I am convinced it will positively impact patient health in Germany in the coming years. Seeing all the cell and gene therapies brought to the market by our customers is very exciting. These therapies can change patient outcomes. Although the therapies are currently costly, their use has the potential to save healthcare systems from the excessive costs attributed to treating severe diseases. We invest vast amounts of money into research and development, particularly in scaling up and manufacturing for innovators and our customers to make therapies more accessible to patients and society.  

Environmental Sustainability is extremely important to Germany and is a leading country in this space for Thermo Fisher. 

Germany is an important market for Thermo Fisher. There are many opportunities that Germany presents to help us maintain and grow our business. It is an attractive and growing market with a highly skilled labour force. Thermo Fisher is committed to our business in Germany and continually looking for opportunities to further grow. 

EF: What can we expect from diagnostics in the future? 

CD: With the rise in cancer and heart diseases, there is a renewed focus on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Prevention is equally as important as a cure. Prevention is a critical solution to prevent the collapse of the healthcare systems and to keep people healthier for longer. Innovation comes from big and small collaborations. The last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown incredible innovation through collaborative partnerships as evidenced by the rollout in record time of innovative covid vaccines and distribution channels. 

EF: How is Thermo Fisher using digitalization to showcase this through education? And how are you promoting a prevention mindset from a MedTech and Biotech perspective? 

CD: Thermo Fisher is deeply committed to not only enabling our customers’ important work but also ensuring we train the next generation of scientists. The pandemic accelerated digitalization and drove companies to find ways to engage, educate, and train customers and employees to reach more communities, all from the comfort of their homes. There is an exponential rise and a series of different types of webinars that Thermo Fisher and other biotech companies are launching. We ensure that our customers always have the latest research, development, and scientific insights. It is only sometimes completely product specific, but there is a drive for knowledge sharing. The webinars and conversations we establish on gene and cell therapies are best for patient-tailored solutions.  

EF: How do you assess the power of collaborations advancing in the industry? 

CD: Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer and collaboration is central to achieving this. Thermo Fisher is a leader in the industry because of our diverse and integrated portfolio, which can support customers at every stage of the value chain. We collaborate across our value chain - from key universities and research organizations to large-scale manufacturing and clinical trials to enable our customers' important work.  

We partner with start-ups and support them through networking and linking them to venture capital firms, grants, and other industry partners. Start-ups mass scaling requires cross-collaborations on a large scale. Thermo Fisher has always been a strong partner working in the background to enable our customers to have an even greater impact.  We partner with our customers at each step and facilitate cross-collaboration. 

In Germany, we have a large network of partners we collaborate with, including research organizations large-scale biopharma and biotech customers, and industry associations. We are supporting life science research that directly influences diagnostics.  

EF: Could you share lessons from your gathered efforts in Germany with us? 

CD: Thermo Fisher Germany is actively engaged in environmental and product design sustainability opportunities across the country. Thermo Fisher had the chance to step up and demonstrate how to implement some of the policy changes coming out of the EU Green Deal. We implement these transformations in setting up our manufacturing and office sites and ensure that all sites comply. We have a large footprint in Germany and set ourselves up sustainably. We have a Design for Sustainability program through R&D that incorporates life cycle thinking into product design early in product development. 

The energy crisis has impacted all industries across Europe; however, the impact on our operations has been tapered by our investments in alternative and renewable energy supplies. One of the Company’s first sites to operate without the use of fossil fuels is in Germany and we have made many further investments across other sites across Europe. We lead by example and transfer the skills we develop here to other sites across our global network.  

Climate change is undeniable in my opinion and we all must be a part of driving sustainability efforts. It is our responsibility to support and enable our consumers behind the scenes through consultations to help them reach their sustainability goals.  

EF: In your experience as a manager, how do you keep your employees motivated through these challenging times, and how can we keep attracting the best and brightest for future innovation? 

CD: Everyone wants talented employees. We keep our employees motivated by a purpose-driven Mission and our 4I Values. Our 4I Values of Integrity, Intensity, Innovation and Involvement guide our colleagues’ interactions—with our customers, suppliers, and partners, and with each other. These four values are the very foundation of our culture and fundamental to our continued growth. Keeping in line with these values, I feel that communication is the backbone and most important mandate for leadership. I have an open-door policy with all my employees, where they can reach me anytime. Sometimes I get calls at odd hours. We have a group chat that has recently been busy because of unfortunate events in Turkey. In such uncertain times, our people must know that I am here, and they are heard.  

We attract top talent by upholding our values. We have a DE&I policy that focuses on our employees bringing their best selves to work every day. We offer growth opportunities through different programs. We recently opened a student exchange program for employees who may need more means to send their children abroad for schooling.  

Lastly, Thermo Fisher is committed to making STEM education more accessible and equitable, which leads to a workforce that more fully reflects our society and embraces its diverse perspectives to solve the world’s most complex problems. We do this through signature STEM education programs that colleagues can deploy in their communities, as well as through partnerships with leading STEM-focused nonprofit organizations, like Boys & Girls Clubs of America, enabled by our Foundation for Science. In Germany, we are a participant in Boys and Girls Day where children can learn more about careers that have a typical gender dominance.  Through these partnerships, we connect more youth—including youth in areas that are underserved—with high-quality learning experiences that can help propel them into thriving STEM careers. Early exposure to STEM topics has broad benefits across the learning spectrum, from science and math to creativity, to skills like problem-solving and adaptability.  

March 2023