Eurofins develops new solutions to support the fight against COVID-19

Posted by Sandra Hageman on Apr 28, 2020 8:31:09 PM
Sandra Hageman
  • From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Eurofins leadership’s priority has been to mobilise all available scientific talent and resources to help its clients and the world fight this terrible disease. Few companies in the world have so many and diverse scientific and technological capabilities to develop new solutions and services to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 20 international multidisciplinary scientist groups are working tirelessly across time zones to create new modalities to support healthcare workers and authorities and Eurofins clients in the biopharmaceutical and other industries in their efforts against the disease. The Group can report that strong progress has already been made and expects further breakthroughs in the near future. Meanwhile, in spite of the impact of the lockdowns on some of the Group’s companies and their clients, overall Eurofins core business demonstrated strong resilience in Q1 2020.  
  • Q1 2020 revenues increased 7% year-on-year to EUR 1,142m from EUR 1,067m in Q1 2019.
  • Solid organic growth1 of 4.1% was achieved in Q1 2020 (4.6% corrected for Boston Heart Diagnostics and two other laboratories temporarily closed due to a fire), reflecting the strong resilience of Eurofins and its end markets.
    • The impact from the COVID-19 pandemic related lockdowns on Eurofins operations varied across geographies and over time. Social isolation measures mainly affected Eurofins’ laboratories in China in February and March, and some of its laboratories operating in Italy, Austria, Spain, France, Germany and the U.S.A. in March. In spite of these headwinds due to temporary lockdowns and thanks to very good performance otherwise, overall organic growth remained strong in Q1 2020.
    • The vast majority of Eurofins’ laboratory testing services are deemed essential for many critical supply chains as well as for the health and safety of the population and, therefore, have been allowed to continue operating during most lockdowns imposed by authorities.
    • After a slow start, as this testing was initially reserved to government public health laboratories, from mid-March 2020 SARS-CoV-2 related testing volumes started to grow day after day as some national health authorities began involving private testing laboratories. Overall though, revenues generated in March from this testing remained modest as the Group was still building up its reagents and equipment supply chains and most countries still favoured testing at public hospitals and limited testing to severely ill patients only. As it has since then appeared that government laboratories may not always be able to provide the testing volumes required in order to contribute to support public health authorities in their work, Eurofins is now significantly increasing its testing capacity and the COVID-19 testing reagents production volume of its in vitro diagnostic (IVD) products companies.
  • Eurofins is ramping up production to enable over 20 million patients tests per month by end of May 2020 spread over several important modalities.
  • Eurofins teams are fully committed and mobilised to contribute to the global response to the COVID-19 crisis. By leveraging all of its technical capabilities across its global laboratory network, Eurofins has developed one of the most comprehensive testing and service offering to support healthcare practitioners and authorities around the world as well as the biopharmaceutical industry respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Below are some highlights of the Group’s testing capacities and solutions already available to customers (more information can be found on pages 6 and 7 of this release):
    • Since March 2020, Eurofins has been offering testing for the evaluation of COVID-19 using real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. Several of its laboratories received approval for their laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S.A. and other national authorities. Combining its own LDTs with reagents provided by its suppliers, the Group’s goal is to reach a global capacity to carry out in excess of 2 million tests per month by mid-May 2020.
    • Early April, Eurofins started to offer ELISA and CLIA-based serology testing services to detect Antibodies expressed after COVID-19 infection. Global capacity across its laboratory network for these Antibodies testing services is also expected to exceed 2 million tests per month by mid-May 2020.
    • On 17 April 2020, Eurofins also launched serology testing kits to be used by state or private laboratories on most open systems and is expecting to reach a production capacity of over 10 million tests per month by the end of May 2020.
    • Eurofins has launched a number of additional tests that help protect from the virus such as tests to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on environmental surfaces, for example in work or retail environment or to control the quality of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical equipment.
    • Eurofins Genomics’ six sites around the world are increasing their capacity to provide primers and probes to be incorporated in millions of SARS-CoV-2 testing kits produced by IVD companies. On 16 April 2020, they also launched novel and highly efficient genome sequencing services to support research and epidemiology studies to combat COVID-19.
    • The Group has also launched a large number of products and services aimed at supporting research for the development of novel vaccines and therapeutics. The Group’s unmatched global network of 35 Biopharma Product Testing laboratories have ramped up capacity to support some of the largest global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies developing products to fight COVID-19.
  • Since the onset of this pandemic Eurofins is taking a number of measures to protect our employees and ensure we will be able to continue supporting our customers to the high standard they expect from us. We have worked with our teams to implement practices to minimize the risk of infection to both themselves and others. We put in place preventive measures which have been recommended by both the World Health Organization and relevant government and national public health authorities in relation to social distancing and effective hygiene measures to uphold operations essential for customers and society in this difficult situation while ensuring the welfare and health of our staff.
  • In view of the unprecedented uncertainty on the global mid-term economic outlook following the COVID-19 pandemic and in spite of the significant additional work it expects to carry out for the next 18 to 36 months to support the biopharmaceutical industry and public health authorities in their fight against COVID-19, like most companies, Eurofins has also taken measures to protect cash and accelerate reduction of its financial leverage. Very early at the onset of the pandemic, Eurofins implemented conservative measures in terms of capex and M&A spend, as well as with regards to hiring and management of personnel costs in order to minimise its cash outflows until better visibility is obtained on the global economic outlook.
  • As a sign of solidarity with their teams, Eurofins’ Board members and the Group’s CEO have decided to contribute 25% of their compensation to a solidarity fund during Q2 2020, a period during which some employees of those of the Group’s companies most affected by lockdowns have to be furloughed for a number of weeks. Members of the Group Operating Council will also contribute to the solidarity fund through a reduction in compensation in Q2. Broadly in the Group, where it was possible, compensation has been frozen at 2019 levels and decisions on variable compensation for 2019 have been deferred until more visibility on the economic outlook is available. In countries, activities or companies most impacted by the economic effects of lockdowns, several leaders have taken additional personal compensation deferment or reduction steps in solidarity with their affected members of staff. The Group is also implementing reductions of its central overhead costs. In addition, the Eurofins Foundation and Eurofins founders will contribute to the solidarity fund to provide additional support, both financial and non-financial, to some employees and their dependents who may experience exceptional hardship due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In some countries, funds will also be set aside to offer free COVID-19 testing to some Eurofins employees where this is not covered by their medical insurance or other state supported programmes.
  • Like many other firms, some of the Group’s companies that were affected by forced lockdowns have also applied for national support measures to mitigate the negative financial impact of the lockdowns and provide relief to furloughed employees.
  • Additionally, in light of the current regulatory context, limited visibility on the global economic outlook and benefits of faster deleveraging, alongside all other precautionary measures, Eurofins management has decided to propose to the June 2020 Annual General Meeting to not distribute a dividend for 2019.
  • Eurofins is well-funded with significant cash on its balance sheet and undrawn long-term credit facilities, which together represented over EUR 1 billion at the end of March 2020, in addition to credit facilities used to back up its commercial paper programme.
  • Due to the unprecedented circumstances linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Directors of Eurofins has decided to postpone the Annual General Meeting initially scheduled for 23 April 2020 to 26 June 2020 and hold it by correspondence.
  • Outlook: at this point in time, it is difficult to predict the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the remainder of the year, as economic and lockdown situations evolve rapidly in most geographies. Nevertheless, Eurofins is mostly positioned in highly resilient markets with a large and globally diversified network of laboratories active in essential sectors such as Food, Water, BioPharma, Clinical and Genomics testing. Eurofins management expects some of its laboratories to be directly and indirectly affected by lockdowns, especially in April and May 2020. However, other activities are growing very fast due to SARS-CoV-2 related biopharma R&D and COVID-19 testing for medical or workforce protection objectives. The lockdown impact, mostly on those of Eurofins laboratories providing less essential testing services or their clients, is expected to be for the most part temporary and primarily affecting the earlier part of Q2 2020. On the other hand, the additional activity related to COVID-19 testing and biopharma research may unfortunately have to continue for much longer as the virus may stay present in many communities for some amount of time or could start spreading again after the strictest social isolation measures are lifted. As a result, over the full year, while it is impossible yet to make any precise forecasts, the two effects may well compensate each other. Eurofins has thus decided not to withdraw or update the objectives it set for 2020 for its organic development. In view of the unprecedented level of uncertainty, other than for investments to support Eurofins multi-pronged efforts to support the fight against COVID-19, the Group intends nonetheless to be very frugal with its capex, M&A and operating expenses. This should result in faster deleveraging of Eurofins’ balance sheet. Better visibility will hopefully be possible when reporting H1 2020 results.
Comments from the CEO, Dr. Gilles Martin:

“Our mission at Eurofins is Testing for Life. Never is this more true than today, as we put our full energy and commitment towards supporting the fight against this global pandemic. We are a community of people including scientists and entrepreneurs, who are banded together to provide excellence in scientific innovation and service. As the world faces the challenges of COVID-19, at Eurofins we are ever mindful of our vision and the race to bring all of our resources to bear on the saving of lives during this crisis. We are pleased to have the opportunity to contribute on many fronts to the world’s fight against COVID-19. Our innovations in testing give healthcare providers additional options in evaluating their patients during this terrible outbreak. Our scientists are working with passion to support their clients in the Biopharma industry developing therapies and vaccines against COVID-19 in record time. Our teams are supporting epidemiologists with new solutions to trace the disease. Others are setting up processes for validating new sources of personal protection equipment or medical devices or working to secure the continued supply of critical infrastructure and essential services such as continued safe drinking water, essential pharmaceutical products, medical devices and important chemical products and the safe food, beverages and agricultural products sold on supermarket shelves, among many others. 

Eurofins management is also closely monitoring the direct impact that the slower economic activity is having or may have on its operations. Most of the Group’s companies had a solid start to the year despite the significant disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the very resilient and non-cyclical nature of most of the markets we are exposed to. Nonetheless, the Group rapidly responded by taking significant actions to conserve cash and mitigate the potential impact of a prolonged economic downturn on our profitability and cash generation.

We remain very confident and excited about the company’s long-term prospects given the attractive markets we serve, our industry-leading position and proven growth strategy.

We are humbled and honoured to support patients and those healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly to care for those in greatest need due to the challenges of COVID-19.

We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy for those impacted by the virus, and gratitude for the selfless healthcare heroes at the front lines of this terrible pandemic. We are in awe of your sacrifices and compassion and are motivated and honoured to rise up to this challenge to provide support to you and your patients, with the ongoing goal of making a positive contribution.

I also want to thank and recognise all Eurofins colleagues who are driving through this challenge. We are working diligently to keep their health and safety at the forefront of all we do. Without them, this would not be possible.”

Table 1: Q1 2020 Organic Growth Calculation and Revenue Reconciliation


EURm (unless otherwise stated)

Q1 2019 reported revenues


+ Q1 2019 acquisitions - revenue part not consolidated in Q1 2019 at Q1 2019 FX rates


- Q1 2019 revenues of discontinued activities / disposals5


= Q1 2019 pro-forma revenues (at Q1 2019 FX rates)


+ Q1 2020 FX impact on Q1 2019 pro-forma revenues


= Q1 2019 pro-forma revenues (at Q1 2020 FX rates) (a)


Q1 2020 organic scope* revenues (at Q1 2020 FX rates) (b)


Q1 2020 organic growth rate (b/a-1)


Q1 2020 acquisitions - revenue part consolidated in Q1 2020 at Q1 2020 FX rates


Q1 2020 revenues of discontinued activities / disposals5


Q1 2020 reported revenues


* Organic scope consists of all companies that were part of the Group as at 01/01/2020. This corresponds to the 2019 pro-forma scope.

Table 2: Geographical Revenue Breakdown

(EUR m)

Q1 2020

As % of total

Q1 2019

As % of total

Growth %







North America






Rest of the World












By geography, Eurofins’ organic growth for Q1 2020 was 2.0% in Europe, 7.1% in North America and 4.6% in the Rest of the World, reflecting the different timings of COVID-19 disruptions across geographies (early in Q1 for China, early March in Europe and late March in North America).

Within Europe, the COVID-19 impact on Q1 2020 organic growth was felt differently across countries. In France and the British Isles (UK and Ireland) Q1 2020 organic growth was slightly negative, in Germany organic growth was slightly positive, in the Nordics it was mid to high single digit whilst in the Benelux organic growth was double digit. Overall, BioPharma services in Europe remained very strong, growing double digit organically, partly driven by a strong performance in France. Clinical diagnostics had a mixed performance between European countries in line with the timing of the involvement of private laboratories in COVID-19 testing by local public authorities.

In North America, where organic growth was very strong overall in Q1 2020, both BioPharma services and Clinical Diagnostics grew double digit organically whilst Food testing organic growth was mid to high single digit. The Environment testing business continued its growth and margin improvement trajectory.

In the Rest of the World, the COVID-19 impact on Q1 2020 organic growth was also felt differently across countries with double digit organic growth in Japan and Taiwan and mid-to-high single digit organic growth in Australia and India. Brazil and New Zealand were relatively stable whilst China recorded a double digit decline.

Eurofins is supporting the global response against the Coronavirus pandemic

Eurofins has developed one of the most comprehensive offerings to help healthcare authorities respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The Group has been leveraging all of its technical capabilities across its global laboratory network, including its biopharma services laboratories, to support current and future SARS-CoV-2 testing needs and to continue to explore innovative solutions to further increase the capacity and the range of testing options available.

Offering RT-PCR clinical testing services for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2

At the beginning of March, Eurofins started to offer stand-alone real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Germany and from 10 March 2020 in the U.S.A. Eurofins has since received authorisations and validations for its RT-PCR Laboratory-Developed Tests (LDTs) for SARS-CoV-2 from a number of healthcare authorities, including Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. and validation from the National Reference Center in France.

At the same time, in the U.S.A., Eurofins also began offering SARS-CoV-2 testing as part of Diatherix’ newly updated Target Enriched Multiplex PCR (TEM-PCR) Respiratory Viral Panels as well as a remote sample collection service to support care for kidney transplant recipients during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Eurofins is now able to offer the SARS-CoV-2 PCR assay across 23 laboratories in 9 countries (the U.S., Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Belgium, Italy and the U.A.E.). Eurofins is also working with the healthcare authorities in the UK, Ireland and India to set up testing capabilities in those countries over the coming weeks. Eurofins is ramping up its testing capacity for this solution from around 10,000 tests per day in late March to reach 100,000 tests per day from mid-May 2020.

To be able to ramp up capacity quickly in the face of increasing global demand and tightening supply chain issues, Eurofins is leveraging its strategic relationships with its suppliers as well as its internal capabilities including Eurofins Genomics’ six oligonucleotides production sites in the U.S.A., Europe, India and Japan which produce probes, primers and positive controls, key components for RT-PCR testing of SARS-CoV-2.

Offering clinical testing services and testing kits for serology-based antibody detection by ELISA in patients that have been exposed to COVID-19

At the start of April, Eurofins started to offer COVID-19 antibody clinical testing services. Serology can be used to complement the PCR swab testing that detects the virus to help diagnose acute infections status and its evolution. It can help estimate the timing of infection. As knowledge develops about the immunity to potential reinfection of patients having previously contracted COVID-19 and recovered, antibodies testing may provide information about statistically reduced contagion risks of and from these persons. Eurofins is now able to offer the COVID-19 antibody testing across 13 laboratories in 7 countries (the U.S.A., France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, the UK and the U.A.E.). Eurofins is also working with healthcare authorities in the Netherlands and Belgium to set up testing capabilities in those countries during the month of May 2020. The Eurofins network had capacity to process around 5,000 serology tests per day at launch and intends to increase its capacity to 100,000 tests per day by mid-May 2020.

On 09 April 2020, Eurofins launched a range of testing kits for serology-based antibody detection by ELISA of patients that have been exposed to COVID-19. Through the Group’s four factories and partners, Eurofins will be ramping up its capacity to produce kits to carry out over 10 million tests per month by the end of May 2020 to be used by government and private laboratories worldwide on most open ELISA testing systems.

Launching a number of solutions to support the research for therapeutics against COVID-19

As the world strives to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, BioPharmaceutical, Government, and non-profit organisations are working diligently to identify new or existing drug modalities that potentially can be used to treat COVID-19 affected populations. Eurofins’ scientific expertise and breadth of testing capabilities places the company at the forefront in supporting its clients’ mission to accelerate COVID-19 drug and vaccine development and put an end to this crisis.

Eurofins Genomics supports scientists from all areas in their essential work by providing them with the right tools to facilitate genomic research on SARS-CoV-2. Detailed knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 and its characteristics is instrumental in order to identify fast and viable solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, Eurofins Genomics has launched a series of SARS-CoV-2 plasmid DNA controls that can be used to verify the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They are intended to be used for both research and development and in vitro diagnostic (IVD) applications. It has also recently launched its “SARS-CoV-2 Full-length Genome Sequencing” service, a new next generation sequencing (NGS) service enabling end-to-end surveillance of the coronavirus genome sequence and mutational drift. This can be key for epidemiology and tracing of outbreaks.

Eurofins Discovery, whose mission is to support Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies in their efforts to accelerate drug discovery research and development, is providing expert support in identifying and assessing potential drug targets by leveraging its worldwide presence, depth of scientific experience, and breadth of assays and services.

Eurofins BioPharma Product Testing delivers vital COVID-19 testing for all drug modalities and supply chains and has partnered with the world’s most innovative Bio/Pharmaceutical firms to advance timely therapies to patients in need. Eurofins BioPharma Product Testing’s scientific expertise and breadth of testing capabilities places the company at the forefront in supporting clients’ mission to accelerate COVID-19 drug and vaccine development including Antivirals, Vaccines, mAbs, Antibodies, RNA and Testing Kits with a concentration on Raw Materials, Microbiology, Viral, Cell & Molecular and Product Testing; Stability and Release Testing/Method Development; Medical Device Testing/ Method Development; and Cell Banking.

Through its worldwide presence, depth of scientific experience, and breadth of studies, tests and services, Eurofins Medical Device Testing is providing expert support and testing services for medical devices employed in the fight against COVID-19.

Leveraging its position as global leader in Testing for Life

In March, Eurofins launched testing solutions for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 on environmental surfaces and Eurofins’ laboratories in the U.S.A., South America, Europe and Asia Pacific are currently rolling out this service offering to their customers. The same month, Eurofins also launched a global service offering for testing, inspection and regulatory services focused on medical face masks, gloves and gowns, respiratory protective devices and equipment, its materials and components, as well as disinfectants and hand sanitizers, to serve the increasing demand caused by the severe coronavirus pandemic. Eurofins strives to be the one-stop solution provider for its clients supplying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Medical Devices to the healthcare sector worldwide.

Links to all press releases published to date on the COVID-19 pandemic can be found below. You may also visit for more information.

1Organic growth for a given period (Q1, Q2, Q3, Half Year, Nine Months or Full Year) - non-IFRS measure calculating the growth in revenues during that period between 2 successive years for the same scope of businesses using the same exchange rates (of year Y) but excluding discontinued operations5.

For the purpose of organic growth calculation for year Y, the relevant scope used is the scope of businesses that have been consolidated in the Group's income statement of the previous financial year (Y-1). Revenue contribution from companies acquired in the course of Y-1 but not consolidated for the full year are adjusted as if they had been consolidated as from 01 January Y-1. All revenues from businesses acquired since 01 January Y are excluded from the calculation.

2Adjusted - reflects the ongoing performance of the mature4 and recurring activities excluding “separately disclosed items3”.

3Separately disclosed items - includes one-off costs from integration, reorganisation, discontinued operations5 and other non-recurring income and costs, temporary losses and other costs related to network expansion, start-ups and new acquisitions undergoing significant restructuring, share-based payment charge6, impairment of goodwill, amortisation of acquired intangible assets, negative goodwill, loss/gain on disposal and transaction costs related to acquisitions as well as income from reversal of such costs and from unused amounts due for business acquisitions, net finance costs related to borrowing and investing excess cash and one-off financial effects (net of finance income) and the related tax effects.

4Mature scope: excludes start-ups and acquisitions in significant restructuring. A business will generally be considered mature when: i) The Group’s systems, structure and processes have been deployed; ii) It has been audited, accredited and qualified and used by the relevant regulatory bodies and the targeted client base; iii) It no longer requires above-average annual capital expenditures, exceptional restructuring or abnormally large costs with respect to current revenues for deploying new Group IT systems. The list of entities classified as mature is reviewed at the beginning of each year and is relevant for the whole year.

5Discontinued activities / disposals: discontinued operations are a component of the Group’s core business or product lines that have been disposed of, or liquidated; or a specific business unit or a branch of a business unit that has been shut down or terminated, and is reported separately from continued operations. Disposals correspond to the sale by Eurofins of business assets to a third party. For more information, please refer to Note 3.18 of the Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2019.

6Share-based payment charge and acquisition-related expenses, net – Share-based payment charge, impairment of goodwill, amortisation of acquired intangible assets, loss/gain on disposal, negative goodwill and transaction costs related to acquisitions as well as income from reversal of such costs and from unused amounts due for business acquisitions.

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