Agilent axes 300 employees to focus on applied markets and diagnostics businesses

Agilent CEO Mike McMullen

Agilent Technologies ($A) is closing its nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) business as the downsizing of its research products division continues. The move is expected to cost 300 jobs over the next 12 months in Santa Clara, CA, and Yarnton, England.

In response to "certain market conditions," Agilent is no longer taking any orders for NMR systems, but it will meet existing orders and service obligations, according to the company website.

"This action is a step in ensuring that our investments are placed on higher-value life sciences, applied markets and diagnostics solutions that will continue to drive growth across the company," said CEO Mike McMullen in a statement.

Last year, the company exited the original equipment manufacturing, specialty magnet and MRI businesses in an attempt to focus its efforts. Plus, the company spun off its electronic test and measurement business, creating the new Keysight Technologies. And now Agilent says the NMR business has also fallen short of its growth and profitability objectives.

NMR spectroscopy is a chemistry technique used to analyze the content, purity and chemical structure of various sample materials. It is used in quality control and research settings in academia, government and the chemical and biopharma industries. Thermo Fisher Scientific ($TMO) and Bruker are among the leaders in NMR equipment, which includes spectrometers and micro-imaging probes.

Meanwhile, Agilent continues to focus on clinical (as opposed to research) life science offerings. In addition to lab equipment, the company makes a variety of reagents and machines for quantitative measurement of polymerase chain reactions (qPCR) for use in the diagnostics industry.

Agilent was spun off from Hewlett-Packard in 1999 in what was the largest IPO in Silicon Valley history, according to the company website. The company reported net earnings of $724 million on revenue of $6.8 billion in fiscal year 2013.

- read the release
- here's the now-defunct business's website

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