1981 New England Nuclear Corporation
DuPont purchased New England Nuclear Corporation (NEN) in 1981 as part of its expanding venture into medical research and health care. Founded in 1956, Boston-based NEN was a leading producer of specialized biomedical products such as monoclonal antibodies, which are proteins that resemble those in the human immune system but target specific foreign bodies or disease agents.
Monoclonal antibody research held great promise for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Shortly after its acquisition by DuPont, NEN began producing radiopharmaceuticals with the world's first commercial linear accelerator at its new Biotechnology Center in Newton, Mass. These drugs offered researchers and clinicians a means of tracking precisely the movement and location of drugs in the body, thereby strengthening DuPont's existing capability in medical imaging and X-rays.
As the biotechnology field grew more competitive through the 1990s, DuPont focused its biotech resources on agriculture and nutrition, and on the promising field of bio-based synthetic textiles. In 1996 the company sold its medical diagnostics and imaging businesses, and in 1997 sold its wholly owned subsidiary, then named NEN Life Sciences Products, to Genstar Capital, LLC. NEN was subsequently purchased in 2000 by PerkinElmer, a manufacturer of drug research products.