Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO -0.03%) has turned what seemed like a horrible year into a very good one. Its shares were down 25% year to date at one point in late March. However, the company rebounded strongly and is now up 27% so far in 2020.

That momentum was put to the test when Thermo Fisher announced its second-quarter results before the market opened on Wednesday. And the healthcare company passed that test with flying colors. Here are the highlights from its Q2 update.

Scientist in lab with arms crossed.

Image Source: Getty Images.

By the numbers

Thermo Fisher Scientific announced Q2 revenue of $6.92 billion, a 10% increase from the $6.32 billion reported in the same quarter of the previous year. This result also easily topped the average analyst's revenue estimate of $6.13 billion.

The company generated net income in the second quarter of $1.16 billion, or $2.90 per share, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This marked a solid improvement from GAAP earnings of $1.12 billion, or $2.77 per share, recorded in the prior-year period.

Thermo Fisher also reported adjusted net income in Q2 of $3.89 per share, up nearly 28%, compared to adjusted earnings of $3.04 per share in the second quarter of 2019. The adjusted-earnings result trounced the consensus Wall Street estimate of $2.84 per share.

Behind the numbers

There was one primary factor behind Thermo Fisher's Q2 success -- COVID-19. The company said that it generated around $1.3 billion in revenue related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thermo Fisher's life sciences solutions segment was its biggest winner in the quarter. Revenue for the segment soared 52% year over year to $2.6 billion. Adjusted operating margin for the segment also increased significantly, up from 35.6% in the prior-year period to 47.4% in the second quarter of 2020.

Two other business segments delivered more modest growth. The specialty diagnostics segment revenue rose to $0.99 billion in Q2 from $0.94 billion in the prior-year period. The laboratory products and services segment revenue increased to $2.79 billion from $2.63 billion in the same quarter of 2019.

The company's analytical instruments segment ranked as its worst-performing unit. Revenue for the segment fell more than 20% year over year to $1.05 billion. 

Looking ahead

Thermo Fisher Scientific didn't provide any guidance for full-year 2020 or for the third quarter with its Q2 results. However, it's likely that COVID-19 will continue to be the primary growth driver for the healthcare stock throughout the rest of the year.

The company won a multiyear contract with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to provide pharma services in support of accelerated vaccine development and production. It's marketing a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for diagnosing COVID-19 after receiving Food and Drug Administration emergency-use authorization.

CEO Marc Casper said that Thermo Fisher is now "a global leader in COVID-19 testing." He added that the company continues to develop "new products and capabilities across our businesses that will position us well for years to come."