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health care unit is offering to buy Sweden's Biacore International, a maker of tools for protein research, for about $438 million.

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owns 41% of Biacore and said it supports the transaction. Biacore employs about 300 people worldwide, and operates a research and development and manufacturing facilities in Uppsala, Sweden, where GE Healthcare Life Sciences is based.

"GE Healthcare and Biacore have a shared vision on the importance of life sciences research to future developments in improving global health care," said Joe Hogan, president and CEO of the GE division. "Life sciences is a key area of growth for GE Healthcare, and Biacore is highly complementary and synergistic with our existing protein sciences business."

Founded in 1984, Biacore's systems generate data on the interactions between proteins and other molecules, including small molecules such as drug candidates. Biacore's products are used in areas such as antibody characterization, proteomics immunogenicity and production.

Shares of GE were down 7 cents at $33.65. Pfizer slipped 16 cents to $22.90.