Amersham plc was a UK pharmaceutical company, specialising in medical diagnostics and life science products. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but was purchased by General Electric; it is now part of GE Healthcare.
The company had its roots from a national centre set up in 1946 for the development and manufacture of radioactive materials for peacetime uses in medicine, scientific research and industry. This centre originated in the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) but in 1971 was split out into The Radiochemical Centre Ltd. The company was privatised in 1982 under the name Amersham International plc. It was the first company to be privatised by the Thatcher government.
In the early 1990s, the in-vitro diagnostic assay business was divested to a joint venture with Eastman Kodak called Amerlite Diagnostics Ltd, this was later wholly acquired by Eastman Kodak and renamed Kodak Clinical Diagnostics Ltd. This business was sold by Kodak to Johnson & Johnson and became known as Johnson & Johnson Clinical Diagnostics Ltd. The business is now called Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics Ltd, but is still owned by Johnson & Johnson.
In 1997 Pharmacia Biotech (Sweden), then owned by Pharmacia & Upjohn, was fused with Amersham Life Science and renamed Amersham Pharmacia Biotech. The Pharmacia name of this subsidiary was later dropped when Pharmacia & Upjohn sold its share of the company to Amersham plc, and changed its name to Amersham Biosciences in 2001.
In 1997, Amersham merged with Nycomed (Norway) to form Nycomed Amersham plc. In 1999, the Nycomed Pharma subsidiary was sold to Nordic Capital, and in 2001 Nycomed Amersham plc was renamed to Amersham plc.
The global headquarters of GE Healthcare is situated in Little Chalfont (near the market town of Amersham, hence the name), Buckinghamshire, England, and, as such, is the first GE business unit headquarters to be situated outside the United States.
Amersham's former business segments have become two business segments of GE Healthcare: GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics and GE Healthcare Life Sciences, respectively.
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