Up to 50 jobs will be lost after a pioneering technology firm revealed it will close its Hampshire premises and move to America.

Employees of bioanalytical firm Molecular Devices have been told the business will move from New Milton to California.

It has been reported the company which makes robotic machinery for testing cancer cells and heart disease will shut its base at Queensway Industrial Estate on March 31 and the premises will be put up for sale.

Workers have been left “disheartened and upset” by the shock closure plans.

Chief operating officer at Molecular Devices Greg Wigmore confirmed staff were being consulted on redundancies and the plans to sell the site adding about 15 per cent of people had been offered a relocation package to Sunnyvale in California.

He said: “The rational business decision is to move manufacturing, marketing and R&D to the Molecular Devices Sunnyvale site in California and absorb all other functions into the existing infrastructure there.”

He added: “Obviously our current focus is to support staff through the remainder of this process and to continue to provide high quality products and services to our global customer base.”