Danaher Corporation says the bioprocessing sector has hit its nadir, though the jury is still out as to whether recovery will come in 2024.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

October 25, 2023

2 Min Read
The only way is up? Bioprocess vendors hits rock bottom in 2023

Danaher Corporation says the bioprocessing sector has hit its nadir, though the jury is still out as to whether recovery will come in 2024.

For the third quarter 2023, Danaher Corporation reported a decline in core revenue within its bioprocess business (led by Cytiva, which recently absorbed Pall) of 20% year-on-year.

“Market conditions were consistent with our expectations coming into the third quarter,” CEO Rainer Blair acknowledged on a call with shareholders. “Our customers are still working through inventory built up during the pandemic, while also continuing to conserve capital as a result of funding pressures.”



He added China was down approximately 45% in the quarter, driven by a weak funding environment and lower underlying activity levels.

The results were unsurprising following several turbulent quarters driven by a drawn out post-COVID period of ‘normalization’ among vendors and macro-economic factors such as inflation and political unrest. The firm’s book-to-bill ratio continues to sit at around 0.8, Rainer said, and as such Danaher maintained its full year outlook of approximately 10% base business decline in bioprocessing.

But according to Rainer, as bad as things may be within the sector, they are unlikely to get worse. “We do believe that we’re at the bottom here in 2023 in bioprocessing,” although he remained cautious as to when the inflection point will come in the sector. “We want to see how Q4 plays out before we provide a guide on our Q4 earnings call in January.”

Having cut its guidance earlier this month, fellow vendor Sartorius is seeing similar issues play out in its financials. But again, on its Q3 financial call this week, the firm said it is beginning to see the tide changing.

“We have seen some recovery in orders in Q3, particularly in September, but softer than we have anticipated,” said CEO Rene Faber. “We see clients continue to reduce inventories, however, at slow pace than initially assumed, partly due to lower production levels. We expect the situation to slightly improve in the final quarter.”

Meanwhile, Germany’s Merck appeared more positive regarding the outlook of its life sciences business. MilliporeSigma, saying at its recent Capital Markets Day a turnaround is expected to come in 2024.

“The decline in COVID-19-related sales will be lower than in fiscal 2023,” the firm wrote. “In the Process Solutions business unit, inventory destocking by key customers should end in early 2024, with sales starting to pick up again during the first half of the year.”

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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