Agilent Technologies acquires AFM maker


Agilent Technologies Inc., the Palo Alto, Calif.-based test and measurement company, has become a player in the atomic force microscope market by acquiring Molecular Imaging Corp. of Tempe, Ariz.

The acquisition is expected to substantially increase the exposure of the Molecular Imaging AFM product line, according to company executives. In turn, said Vance Nau, president and CEO of Molecular Imaging, it will help his 40 staff members focus on their core tasks.

The company’s lead AFM product line is known as the PicoPlus family. The modular, high-resolution AFMs are used for imaging in fluids as well as ambient and controlled conditions. Current customers are mostly in drug discovery, life science, electrochemistry, materials science and polymer science.

Executives said the companies would seek to improve the capabilities of the product and simplify operations in order to address larger markets in the future. Long-term goals include creating a device that could be operated by a technician rather than a doctorate-level scientist, as well as developing application-specific units for uses like defect control in inline manufacturing.

Bob Burns, general manager of Agilent’s Nano Measurements Division, said Agilent would keep the Molecular Imaging team in Tempe because the company has strong ties with Arizona State University. Molecular Imaging was founded in 1993 by Stuart Lindsay and Tianwei Jing of Arizona State.
- David Forman

Schaumberg, Ill.-based American Pharmaceutical Partners Inc. is buying its majority shareholder, privately held American BioScience Inc. of Santa Monica, Calif., in an all-stock deal. The new company will be called Abraxis BioScience and will own global rights to Abraxane, a nanoparticle-based breast cancer drug as well as other technologies.

Aviza Technology Inc., a Scotts Valley, Calif., supplier of thermal process and atomic layer deposition systems, and Trikon Technologies Inc., a Newport, Wales-based provider of plasma etching and deposition systems for the semiconductor and MEMS industries, announced the closing of their consolidation through merger. The combined company is known as Aviza Technology Inc.

Bruker AXS, a Madison, Wis., maker of analytical X-ray systems, closed on two previously announced acquisitions, that of Roentec AG and the X-ray microanalysis business of Princeton Gamma-Tech Instruments Inc. Bruker combined the two units into a newly created Bruker AXS Microanalysis business unit.

Measurement Specialties Inc., a Hampton, Va., designer and manufacturer of sensors and sensor-based consumer products, announced it has acquired the capital stock of HL Planartechnik GmbH, a sensor company located in Dortmund, Germany, for $7.1 million. HL Planartechnik specializes in thin-film metallization processes, producing sensors in a variety of categories.

Nanoforce Technologies Inc. of Clearwater, Fla., entered into an agreement to acquire Refinery Science Corp., a company based in El Paso, Texas, that uses nanotechnology for the extraction and refinement of oil reserves. The company says its technology will help it extract low quality crude oil, such as that from shale and sand, in a cost-efficient and productive process that can compete with light crude refining costs.

Rite Track, a West Chester, Ohio, manufacturer of track systems for the MEMS industry, announced the acquisition of online equipment broker The acquisition is intended to give the company another source for the components it uses in its business and provides it with more flexibility in daily operations. will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Rite Track.