Agilent Technologies Company Brief

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Company Brief
Agilent Technologies

by Brady Hicks

Docid: 00017559

Publication Date: 1912

Report Type: VENDOR


Agilent Technologies was founded in 1999 as a spinoff of Hewlett-Packard. The
company is a top vendor for the life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical
markets. It also provides instruments, services, consumables, applications, and
consulting services for laboratories worldwide. Agilent operates three key
businesses: Life Sciences and Applied Markets, Diagnostics and Genomics, and
CrossLab. This brief takes a look at Agilent’s operations in greater depth.

Report Contents:

Fast Facts

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Name: Agilent Technologies
5301 Stevens Creek Blvd
Santa Clara, CA 95051
(877) 424-4536
(408) 345-8886
Fax: (408) 345-8474
Type: Healthcare Equipment and Services
Founded: 1999
Employees: 15,500 (2019)
Stock Symbol: A (NYSE)


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Agilent Technologies is a leader in the life sciences, diagnostics, and
applied chemical markets, and provides laboratories worldwide with instruments,
services, consumables, applications, and expertise to help “gain the insights
they seek.” It focuses on key markets such as food; environmental and forensics;
pharmaceutical; diagnostics; chemical and energy; and research. Agilent runs
three core business segments:

  • Life Sciences and Applied Markets
  • Diagnostics and Genomics
  • CrossLab

Roots in Hewlett-Packard. The company’s
roots can be traced to 1939 when Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started
their business out of a garage. A coin toss determined the company name to
be Hewlett-Packard (HP), and their first product, the 200A
audio oscillator, was used by Disney for the movie, Fantasia. In 1999, HP created Agilent Technologies as an independent measurement
company. The company raised $2.1 billion for its IPO, breaking records as the largest IPO in the history of Silicon Valley.
released its optical mouse sensor that same year, eliminating the need for mouse pads. In 2000, Agilent became fully independent company and introduced its photonic
switching platform for all optical networks.

Company Growth and Development. Agilent quickly grew
include more than just optical sensors. In 2001, Agilent acquired
System Integrators to develop products for network service providers. It
also sold
its Healthcare Solutions Group to Philips. The following year, Agilent
debuted at number 212 on the Fortune 500. It acquired RedSwitch
and shipped more than 100 million optical mouse sensor components.

In 2005, Agilent formed a joint venture, called Chengdu Instruments, to develop
and make test equipment for the global market and China in particular. It also
established Agilent Technologies China Holding Company in Shanghai, and sold
its Semiconductor Products Group. Agilent hit several technology
development milestones over the years:

  • Shipped its 200 millionth optical mouse
    sensor by 2003.
  • Introduced miniature modules for camera-enabled mobile devices in 2003.
  • Shipped first whole human genome on a single microarray, also in 2003.
  • In 2004, Agilent
    provided the interface to test communication equipment in the Mars
    Rovers, and it acquired Silicon Genetics to become a market leader in life
    science informatics.
  • In 2006, Agilent introduced the bit error ratio tester, the
    first to operate at speeds of up to 100Gbps, as well as the industry’s fastest
    signal analyzer: the MXA signal analysis platform.

To expand its product lines, in 2007
Agilent made a string of acquisitions, including Stratagene (life science research
and diagnostics), Velocity11 (life science lab automation and
robotics), Adaptif (optical testing), Kalabie (electronic lab notebook),
and NetworkFab (advanced signal intelligence and communications systems
for aerospace/defense). The following year, it joined the Long Term Evolution/System Architecture Evolution
(LTE/SAE) trial initiative; signed an agreement to expand nanotechnology development capacity by acquiring TILL Photonics GmbH;
and completed its acquisition of Colloidal

Restructuring and Shifting Focus. As the 2009 recession hit, Agilent
announced that it would eliminate
approximately 600 jobs as part of a restructuring program
that included the closure of two small board inspection businesses and
the restructuring of its global infrastructure operations.
During the year, Agilent acquired Varian and Keithley Instruments’ RF product
line, and sold off its N2X Data Networks product line to Ixia. In 2010, Agilent
sold off its Network Solutions Business to JDSU; introduced wireless test communications set for 3GPP LTE user
equipment; and completed its Varian acquisition. Agilent began
shifting its
focus to fields of bioresearch and health. In February 2011, Agilent
Lab901, an electrophoresis equipment and consumables company with
electrophoresis products for DNA, RNA, and protein analysis. The
following month, Agilent acquired BIOCIUS Life Sciences, the developer
of the RapidFire high-throughput mass spectrometry drug-screening
platform for the
pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical markets. In 2012, Agilent also
acquired Dako,
a cancer diagnostics company.

Spinoffs and Restructuring. In September 2013, Agilent
announced plans to separate into two
public companies: one in life sciences, diagnostics and
applied markets (LDA) that would retain the Agilent name, and the other
comprising of the electronic measurement businesses
(EM). Then-President and CEO William Sullivan said the move was
designed to address how the
company had “…evolved into two distinct investment
and business opportunities” and that it planned to create “two separate
and strategically
focused enterprises to allow each to maximize its growth and success.”
considered LDA to be higher-growth businesses, and EM to operate on a
cyclical basis. The revamped Agilent Technologies would employ 11,500
while the EM company would employ 9,500 workers. This separation
occurred in
November 2014. Also in November 2014, Agilent underwent a round of
organizational restructuring. With this, Agilent established a new Life
Sciences and Applied Markets
business segment that combined its life
sciences business – excluding nucleic acid solutions – and its chemical analysis
business; a new Diagnostics and Genomics business that incorporated
nucleic acid solutions with its existing assets in this area; and CrossLab,
which includes its services and consumables business, which were previously part
of Life Sciences and Chemicals Analysis.

Further Investment. Moving forward, Agilent invested in two new
companies in 2016 – cloud-based technology company iLab Solutions (which it
wholly acquired) and Lasergen (in which it purchased a 48% stake for $80 million
– in addition to buying 20 acres of land in Weld County, Colorado to build a new
manufacturing facility.

2017 and Beyond.

Recently, Agilent set the tone for change with the
election of director Koh Boon Hwee as company chair. Hwee replaced longtime
chairman James Cullen, who remained on with the Board. In addition, Agilent also
announced the acquisition of both Population Genetics Technologies’ molecular
and sample bar-coding patent portfolios, as well as Cobalt Light Systems, which
provides spectroscopic instruments for the pharmaceutical, applied markets, and
public safety industries. More recently, 2018 saw Agilent file an amended complaint against Twist
Biosciences, regarding proprietary technology. This action related to the
activity of former Agilent exec and Twist CEO Emily LeProust as well as
"misstatements" in the latter’s S-1 Registration Statement with the US
Securities and Exchange Commission. Agilent originally, in 2016, filed against
Twist, LeProust, and other defendants over alleged contract breaches, duty of
loyalty, and trade secret misappropriation.

Most recently, in 2019, Agilent closed its acquisition of BioTek Instruments.

Key Executives

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Agilent is led by President and CEO Mike McMullen. Other high-ranking
executives within the company include:

  • Henrik Ancher-Jensen – President, Order Fulfillment and Supply Chain
  • Mark Doak – President, Agilent CrossLab Group
  • Rick Burdsall – SVP, Global Infrastructure Services
  • Mark Doak – SVP, Agilent President, CrossLab Group
  • Eric Gerber – SVP, Strategy and Corporate Development
  • Dominique Grau – SVP, Human Resources
  • Guillermo Gualino – VP, Treasurer
  • Nancy Lelicoff – VP, Regulatory Affairs, Quality Assurance and
    Clinical Affairs
  • Robert McMahon – CFO
  • Sam Raha – SVP, President, Diagnostics and Genomics Group
  • Darlene Solomon – SVP, CTO
  • Jacob Thaysen – SVP, President, Life Sciences and Applied Markets

Product Lines

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Agilent’s products and services are divided into three
core areas: Life Sciences and Applied Markets, Diagnostics and Genomics, and CrossLab.

  • Life Sciences and Applied Markets – Reagents, instruments, software, consumables, and services
    for identifying, quantifying, and analyzing physical and biological
    properties of substances and products.
  • Diagnostics and Genomics – Bioanalyzers and TapeStation
    solutions, microarrays, probes, and technology for mutagenesis and cloning,
    pathology, protein expression, product design, and analysis.
  • CrossLab – Laboratory and operations strategy services, Applications &
    Workflow Consulting services, and Scientific Solutions & Supplies.

Table 1 looks at Agilent’s portfolio in greater detail.

Table 1. Product / Service Portfolio
Business Description
Analytical Instruments
  • Chromatography
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Capillary Electrophoresis
  • Columns, Parts & Supplies
  • Instrument Repair
  • Sample Preparation
  • Chemical Standards
Life Science Research
  • Cell Analysis
  • Automated Electrophoresis
  • Microarray Solutions
  • Mutagenesis & Cloning
  • Next Generation Sequencing
  • FISH Probes
  • Genomics Informatics
  • PCR / Real-Time PCR
  • CRISPR / Cas9
  • Oglionucleotide Libraries
Clinical & Diagnostic Testing
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Companion Diagnostics
  • Hematoxylin & Eosin
  • Special Stains
  • Flow Cytometry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Specific Proteins
Lab Management & Consulting
  • Lab Management
  • Lab Consulting
Lab Software
  • Software & Informatics
Dissolution Testing
  • Dissolution
Lab Automation
  • Automation Solutions
Vacuum & Leak Detection
  • Vacuum Technologies

Major Competitors

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Principal competitors include Thermo Fisher, Danaher, Waters, Illumina,
Abbott Laboratories, and Shimadzu, among dozens of other companies.

Recent Activity

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Past-year activity of note for Agilent has included:

  • October 2019 – Opens a facility for spectroscopy R&D in
    Oxfordshire, UK.
  • September – Closes the acquisition of BioTek Instruments.
  • August – Begins working with the National University of Singapore
    and National University Hospital to establish an integrated, transitional
    R&D hub.
  • July – Reaches an agreement with China’s EChrom and Pannatek
    in an intellectual property dispute related to gas chromatography
  • June – Opens a $185 million production facility in Frederick,
  • January – Elects Mala Anand, a current SAP and former Cisco exec,
    to its Board of Directors.

About the Author

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Brady Hicks
is an editor with Faulkner Information Services. He writes about computer
and networking hardware, software, communications networks and equipment,
and the Internet.

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