UPDATE 1-Thermo Fisher sees 2021 profit above estimates on COVID-testing boost

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Feb 1 (Reuters) - Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc on Monday forecast 2021 profit above market estimates and posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings as it continues to gain from upbeat demand for its COVID-19 tests and materials for vaccine production.

Thermo Fisher has been one of the major providers of COVID-19 tests to governments and healthcare providers during the pandemic and also manufactures some of the raw materials used to make vaccines against the novel coronavirus.

Earlier this year, Thermo Fisher purchased Belgium-based Henogen SA, a unit of contract manufacturing services provider Novasep that manufactures viral vectors used in gene therapies and some vaccines.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company also has a contract via Henogen to provide materials to AstraZeneca Plc, which slashed deliveries to the European Union by 60% in January, citing supply constraints.

Thermo Fisher, which purchased Mesa Biotech last month to bolster its diagnostic testing business, struck a deal in September to provide contract manufacturing services to Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc, which is developing a vaccine for the health crisis.

“There are many scenarios where I see testing demand being very robust for a long period of time,” Chief Executive Officer Marc Casper said during an investor call on Monday. “The truth is this pandemic is going to be around in some form around the world.”

Thermo Fisher, the world’s largest maker of scientific instruments, estimated annual profit of $21.62 per share and revenue of $35.1 billion, above analysts’ estimates of $20.74 per share for profit and a revenue of $33.70 billion, according to Refinitv data.

The company also forecast COVID-19 vaccine and therapy revenue to increase to $1 billion this year, while COVID-19 tests and products brought in sales of $3.2 billion during the fourth quarter.

Shares of the company rose 2.7% to $521.2.

Reporting by Dania Nadeem and Carl O’Donnell, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips