Agilent sells software unit to Persistent Systems

Persistent Systems says it aims to grow its life sciences software business with its purchase of lab instrument giant Agilent Technologies' software group in Grenoble, France.

Pune, India-based Persistent reported today that Agilent ($A) and the company have inked a definitive agreement for its buyout of the European software marketing and development business, with an expected closing date of August 1. The Agilent business gives Persistent, a major provider of outsourced software development for multiple industries, a new European beachhead and access to the group's expertise in providing data acquisition and control software for scientific instruments like those Agilent sells.

There's a big push right now for labs to become more efficient in the way they manage data from experiments, especially in the pharmaceutical industry as it faces lower margins and calls to improve research and development output. Through its purchase of the Agilent business, Persistent, which also has a U.S. office in San Jose, CA, plans to set up a new life sciences center of excellence in France to aid its expansion in the European market. The company is also building on its previous work developing software for customers involved in cancer research and other fields within life sciences and healthcare.

"We are very excited about acquiring Agilent's software marketing and development business in Grenoble," Anand Deshpande, Persistent Systems' chairman and managing director, said in a statement. "Persistent has a decade long experience in the life sciences and healthcare business domain and this acquisition will further strengthen the company's position in this market. The analytical space in life science domain holds great promise and through our life sciences center of excellence in Europe we strongly plan to leverage this area."

- here's the release
- check out the Wall Street Journal's coverage