Thermo Fisher Scientific's smaller rivals will soon get the chance to test their theory that focus can challenge diversity.

When Thermo and Fisher merge at the end of the year, they will create a life sciences behemoth with $9 billion in annual revenues, 7,500 sales people, and 350,000 customers worldwide. The $10.6 billion deal is the biggest in the life-science tool segment on record; the next-biggest in size is GE Healthcare's $9.5 billion acquisition of Amersham in 2004.

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