Agilent Celebrates 50 Years in Analytical

In the spring of 1965, the Hewlett-Packard Co. announced its fifth acquisition, a company in Avondale, Pennsylvania, called F&M Scientific.  The purchase was a strategic move by HP to expand from electronics into analytical instrumentation.  At the time, F&M Scientific was one of the world’s leading manufacturers of a new technology called gas chromatography.

The acquisition was finalized 50 years ago this week, on August 9, 1965.  Gas chromatography enabled HP – and its spinoff company, Agilent – to launch other analytical technology platforms, including liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and microarrays.  Leadership in chemical analysis enabled the company to invest in life sciences, genomics and diagnostics.

Last year, Agilent reintroduced itself as a $4 billion company focused on life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets.  Not bad for an acquisition that originally comprised 400 employees and $7 million in annual sales.

Fifty years after the acquisition of F&M Scientific, Agilent’s future looks bright.  “We are building a company that will bridge our expertise in analytics to new worlds in the growing life sciences and diagnostics fields,” Agilent President and CEO Mike told employees at a recent anniversary celebration.  “We are creating a better world.  We are changing people’s lives.  What could be better than coming to work every day to make that kind of change in the world?

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