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Aaron Geist, Helen Stimson, Frank Jellinek Jr., Mike Story, Katherine Webster, GE Healthcare, Applera, PerkinElmer, Clinical Data, Metabolomics, Solexa


Aaron Geist has joined PerkinElmer as vice president of business development. He will be responsible for developing the firm's partnership and acquisition opportunities, according to the firm. Geist joins PerkinElmer from investment banking firm Robert W. Baird, where he served as director and senior research analyst, covering life science, medical device, and diagnostics firms.

Geist holds a PhD in microbiology and molecular biology from Thomas Jefferson University and a BS in genetics and biology from the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

Agilent Technologies has promoted Helen Stimson to the post of vice president and general manager of global consumables for the firm's Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis unit. Stimson has been with Agilent and its predecessor company Hewlett-Packard for 24 years. She most recently served as global consumables business program manager.

Frank Jellinek Jr., chairman emeritus of Fisher Scientific, died in a plane crash in Southern California earlier this week. He previously served as chairman and CEO of Apogent Technologies before that firm merged with Fisher in 2004.

Mike Story has joined Protein Discovery's scientific advisory board, the company said this week.

Story co-designed the first commercial mass spectrometry system based on quadruple technology and was a co-founder of Finnigan. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a BS degree in chemistry. He is currently a director of Syagen Technology.

Katherine Webster has joined 454 Life Sciences as vice president for measurement services center sales, a newly created position, the company said this week.

Webster was most recently president of Biotage, Biosystems Division, where she oversaw the company’s sales and marketing efforts into R&D. She has also held posiions at Applied Biosystems, Chemdex, Celera Genomics, AnVil Informatics and Molecular Staging.

BioCommerce Briefs

GE Healthcare Revenue Rises 5.4 Percent in Q4

General Electric last week reported that revenues for its healthcare segment increased by 5.4 percent for the fourth quarter of 2005 to $4.49 billion from $4.26 billion during the fourth quarter of 2004.

GE Healthcare posted a profit of $1 billion for the quarter, a 16-percent increase over a profit of $860 million in the fourth quarter of 2004.

For fiscal 2005, the healthcare segment reported a 13-percent rise in revenue to $15.1 billion compared with $13.5 billion the year before. The unit reported a 17-percent jump in profit to $2.7 billion in fiscal 2005 from $2.3 billion in fiscal 2004.

Parent company General Electric reported fourth-quarter net income of $3.06 billion, or $.29 a share, compared with $5.6 billion, or $.53 per share, a year ago. The results include a loss of $2.7 billion from discontinued insurance operations. Excluding that loss, GE's earnings per share would have been $.55, matching analysts' expectations for the quarter.

GE had total 2005 revenue of $150 billion, an 11-percent increase from 2004 revenue of $134.4 billion. The firm's total earnings for 2005 were $18.3 billion, up 12 percent from $16.3 billion in 2004. Earnings per share were $1.72, up 10 percent from 2004.

GE predicted EPS of $1.94-$2.02 for fiscal 2006.

The company did not disclose its research and development spending for the fourth quarter of 2005.

Applera, PerkinElmer to Pay Dividends to Shareholders

Applera will pay a quarterly dividend of $.0425 per share to Applied Biosystems shareholders, the company said last week. The dividend is payable on April 3 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on March 1, the company said.

PerkinElmer said that it would pay a dividend of $.07 per share to shareholders on May 12, 2006. The dividend is payable to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 21.

Clinical Data Reorganizes to Focus on PGx, Metabolomics; Inks Informatics Deal

Clinical Data is consolidating its operations into two divisions in an attempt to focus efforts on its pharmacogenomics and metabolomics programs, the company announced last week.

The new businesses will be called Clinical Data Molecular and Vital Diagnostics. Making up Clinical Data Molecular will be the operations acquired by the company in 2005: Genaissance (together with its Lark Technologies assets) and Icoria. The Vital Diagnostics division will consolidate the company's previously owned subsidiaries.

"Our emphasis will be to expand our menus of molecular services available to physicians, payors, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and academic research organizations," CEO Israel Stein said in a statement.

The company said that the businesses comprising the Clinical Data Molecular unit generated $33 million for the 12 months ended Sept. 30. Vital Diagnostics revenues were about $53 million for that period.

Clinical Data also announced this week that it would partner with IO Informatics on the final phase of a five-year Advanced Technology Program grant from the National Institute of Science and Technology.

The $11.7-million grant was initially awarded to Clinical Data subsidiary Icoria in 2002 with the aim of creating software tools and other technologies that can better support the discovery of novel targets, drugs, and diagnostics using systems biology.

As part of the new partnership, the companies will use IO Informatics' intelligent multidimensional object, a mobile, extensible database record that transforms specific pieces or even parts of data into objects that scientists can describe, use, share, and relate to across application and database boundaries, the companies said.

The IMO will be applied to data accumulated through Clinical Data's Gene-to-Cell System approach to pharmaceutical and life science discovery, the companies said.

Further financial details were not disclosed.

Solexa Closes $40M Private Placement

Solexa has closed a private stock placement valued at approximately $40 million, the company said last week.

The transaction is the second and final closing of a $65-million private-equity financing round with a group of institutional investors. In total, Solexa received approximately $61 million after deducting offering expenses.

Under terms of the second closing, Solexa sold about 6.1 million shares of common stock at $6.50 per share, and issued warrants to buy an additional 2.2 million shares at $7.50 per share.

The first closing, completed on Nov. 23, 2005, raised approximately $25 million from the sale of about 3.9 million shares of common stock and the issuance of about 1.3 million warrants.

The Scan

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.

EHR Quality Improvement Study Detects Demographic-Related Deficiencies in Cancer Family History Data

In a retrospective analysis in JAMA Network Open, researchers find that sex, ethnicity, language, and other features coincide with the quality of cancer family history information in a patient's record.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Linked to Gut Microbiome Community Structure Gradient in Meta-Analysis

Bringing together data from prior studies, researchers in Genome Biology track down microbial taxa and a population structure gradient with ties to ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.

Ancient Greek Army Ancestry Highlights Mercenary Role in Historical Migrations

By profiling genomic patterns in 5th century samples from in and around Himera, researchers saw diverse ancestry in Greek army representatives in the region, as they report in PNAS.