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Thomas Scientific Accelerates Investments in Molecular Diagnostics Capabilities

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January 21, 2021

Thomas Scientific, the largest pure-play distributor of scientific products in the US, announced the launch of its Molecular Diagnostics business unit dedicated to serving the nation’s independent testing and reference laboratories.

Thomas Molecular Diagnostics is focused on taking a process-driven approach rather than a catalog-driven one – backed by a team of technical experts ready to provide free custom workflow assessments and solutions.

“Our team is here to help you as consultants,” asserted VP Chad Jenkins during the early January video announcement, seen here. “As scientists we’ve worn your gloves, know your pains, and can offer solutions that achieve results faster, better and at a lower total cost.”

Founded in 1900, Thomas Scientific operated as a family-owned business for most of its history before being acquired by The Carlyle Group in 2017. The executive team has been aggressive on the acquisition front since then – acquiring four different companies to expand the breadth of their product offerings, distribution network and technical expertise.

Thomas Scientific notes two acquisitions in particular, Phenix Research Products and E&K Scientific, added decades of life science automation experience to the Thomas portfolio and would ultimately collaborate to form PEAK Bio Solutions in 2019. The additional resources and technical know-how supplied by PEAK only strengthened Thomas’s capacity to serve high-complexity laboratories – and created a need for a business team solely focused on molecular diagnostics.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be an accelerant in the company’s strategy to be a leading distributor serving Molecular Diagnostics testing needs. With demand suddenly skyrocketing, an increasing number of labs began turning to Thomas to fulfill “urgent needs for supplies, chemicals, and more,” according to Jenkins. This quickly evolved into what is now a strong foundation of top suppliers, products and technical expertise covering the entire molecular diagnostics workflow.

The unit’s leadership team remains dedicated to fulfilling these urgent needs but recognizes that scientific expertise is its true value proposition. Senior VP of Molecular Diagnostics, Michael Brown, has assembled a talented group of regional experts – including Northeast Director Jessica Weidner, PhD – who share a dedication to helping scientists improve lab operations.

“Our team of Business Development Directors each bring a unique skill set that helps support the needs of a diverse and growing field,” stated Brown. “Some of our customers require support with a custom swab, while others may need support with understanding FDA requirements for at-home sample collection.”

Thomas’s focus is on providing custom consultations that help labs optimize all 5 steps of the molecular diagnostics workflow: Collection, Extraction, Amplification, Detection, and Storage.  Inefficiency during any step can drain a lab’s resources while engendering ineffective research outcomes. Examples include collection mistakes jeopardizing detection results, or useless samples resulting from improper cold storage.

Brown continued: “First and foremost, our goal is to understand our customers’ scientific needs.  This extends beyond ‘stabilizing their supply chain’ – often resulting in technical conversations about the extraction method, instrumentation used, and even sample viscosity.  The more our team understands the entire workflow, the more able we are to make recommendations on alternative, strategically-sourced products and eliminate persistent pain points for the end user.”

With an all-hands-on-deck approach that permeates from the top of the company down, and ample resources at their disposal, the future of the Thomas Scientific Molecular Diagnostics team certainly looks bright.

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