Thermo Fisher buys research firm PPD for $ 17.4 billion

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THermo Fisher Scientific announced Thursday that it will acquire PPD, a contract research firm for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, in a deal valued at $ 17.4 billion, plus support for around 3 , $ 5 billion in debt.

The acquisition will allow Thermo Scientific, a leader in Waltham-based laboratory equipment and services, to expand its reach into the life sciences. PPD, based in North Carolina, provides services to help pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials.

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