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Brooks buys a Calif. firm for $79m

By Hiawatha Bray
Globe Staff / July 26, 2011

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Brooks Automation Inc., a leading maker of microchip manufacturing equipment, is continuing its expansion into the life sciences industry by purchasing California-based Nexus Biosystems Inc. for $79 million in cash.

Brooks, of Chelmsford, gets most of its revenue from equipment used in chip making. Nexus makes automated systems for the long-term storage of biological samples. The company’s equipment can store samples at temperatures as low as minus 176 degrees Fahrenheit, for as long as 30 years, and is used by drug companies and universities in long-term research projects.

“Nexus represents an important next step in our strategy to build a meaningful position in a rapid, secular growth market,’’ said Brooks’s chief executive, Steve Schwartz. In April, Brooks paid $3.3 million for RTS Life Sciences, a British company.