Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is approaching a deal to buy pharmaceutical-testing company PPD Inc. for more than $15 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the deal, which could be formalized as soon as this week. Wilmington, N.C.-based PPD, with a market cap around $13.6 billion, is a contract-research company, running drug trials for pharma companies as well as provinding lab services. Thermo Fisher, based in Waltham, Mass., sells lab equipment, chemicals and tests, among other life-sciences services and products, the Journal said. Thermo Fisher has a market cap around $188 billion. PPD shares rose 2% in the extended session after ending the regular trading day up 12%; Thermo Fisher shares were up 1.5% after closing down 1.4%.
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