Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) agreed Tuesday to buy Becton Dickinson & Co.'s (NYSE: BDX) lab-products business for about $730 million, expanding its life-sciences portfolio.

The acquisition of Discovery Labware will give a 40 percent boost to Corning's life-sciences revenue, which reached $235 million in 2011, CEO Wendell Weeks said.

The Discovery Labware unit's extensive product portfolio and established dealer network will significantly improve Corning Life Sciences' offerings to customers and is a critical part of Corning's long-term growth strategy, he said in a statement, adding the acquisition would bring the Corning, N.Y. company closer to its $10 billion revenue target.

Discovery Labware, based in Billerica, Mass., has operations in Massachusetts, North Carolina and Britain.

Corning has struggled recently as demand for the liquid crystal display, or LCD, panels it makes for televisions plummets. It reported in January a 53 percent slump in fourth-quarter profits as a result.

The purchase of BD's lab business is seen as a new source of steady revenue, according to Corning's chief financial officer, James Flaws.

Life Sciences is an attractive growth industry and has low capital intensity. We expect this acquisition to provide a stable stream of incremental cash flow to Corning as we become a more balanced company, he said.

Shares of Corning were down 9 cents to $13.39 late Tuesday afternoon while Becton Dickinson fell 66 cents to $76.03.