New England Nuclear Corporation
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Boston-based New England Nuclear Corporation was incorporated in 1956. New England Nuclear produced radioactive chemicals and supplies for use in scientific research and for application in the medical, biological, and physical sciences.
New England Nuclear formed a partnership with Picker X-Ray Corporation in 1966 to develop radioactive pharmaceuticals ("radiopharmaceuticals"). NEN-Picker Radiopharmaceuticals began producing radioactive chemicals for use in the pharmaceutical industry and for use in medical diagnosis and so-called nuclear medicine. The company's main product was technetium-99m, a radioactive chemical used to detect brain tumors. New England Nuclear acquired full interest in NEN-Picker in 1968.
New England Nuclear produced radioactive chemicals for research use. These chemicals primarily served as "tracers." In other words, a radioactive atom was attached to a chemical so that the chemical's path and action could be easily monitored by researchers. Carbon-14 and tritium were the most common of these "tracer" chemicals. These were used in studies on the human metabolic pathway, on steroids in bodily fluids, and on pesticides and herbicides, for example.
In a stock prospectus in 1971, New England Nuclear listed its primary customers as universities, hospitals, medical schools, medical research institutions, and research laboratories in the clinical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural fields. Most of New England Nuclear's chemical sales were made in the United States, Canada, and Europe. New England Nuclear opened subsidiaries in West Germany and Canada in the late 1960s. The net sales figures for New England Nuclear increased steadily through the 1960s, from $4.9 million in 1967 to $9.6 million in 1971.
In a bid to expand its business into medical research, DuPont purchased New England Nuclear in 1981. DuPont sold NEN's medical diagnostic business in 1996 and the remainder of the company (then called NEN Life Sciences Products) in 1997. PerkinElmer, a drug research and development company, bought NEN in 2000.