The acquisition is part of the company's plans to recast itself as a life sciences company and follows the $1.33bn sale of its laboratory services division, MDS Diagnostic Services, to Borealis Infrastructure Management. As of Tuesday MDS had acquired 92 per cent of Molecular Devices shares, and were waiting for the final 5 per cent of those to arrive before being able to effect the merger without the need for a shareholder meeting. "The Molecular Devices acquisition marks a major first step in expanding MDS's footprint in the life sciences field," said Stephen DeFalco, CEO of MDS. On completion of the acquisition, MDS will launch a new business unit called MDS Analytical Technologies, which will combine the Molecular Devices and MDS Sciex businesses. The new division will be led by the current president of MDS Sciex, Dr Andy Boorn, who will immediately launch integration plans to bring the two businesses together. The combined businesses had over 1,100 employees that included more than 250 scientists and engineers and 2006 revenues of $432m. This will make MDS Analytical about one third of the size of Agilent's bioanalytical section which had 2006 net revenues of $1.55bn. According to Kim Lee, manager of investor relations at MDS, the two businesses are complimentary with little overlap and will position MDS as a leading provider of instruments and tools. Both the MDS Sciex and Molecular Devices brand names will be retained, with no change to the current MDS Sciex mass spectrometry joint ventures with Applied Biosystems and PerkinElmer. "This new business unit will build upon MDS Sciex' leadership in mass spectrometry and Molecular Devices' leadership as a renowned supplier of systems, reagents and software used by researchers worldwide to accelerate the pace of drug discovery and development," said Boorn.