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Applera Boss Reaffirms Plan to Produce Products Beyond Data; Diagnostics Unit to Touch Black in 05

NEW YORK, Dec. 12 - Applera CEO Tony White and a rare gathering of his top lieutenants reaffirmed their goal for Celera Diagnostics and Celera Genomics to develop products beyond genomic data, and said that the Diagnostics unit will turn a profit as early as 2005.

"If we're going to spend $60 million next year, we better discover something," he said, referring to Celera Diagnostics' efforts. He and most of his top brass spoke to investors at a three-hour meeting here on Wednesday.

At the gathering, Kathy Ordonez, president of Celera Diagnostics, predicted that the $60 million annual expenses the company is racking up would yield a profit in 2005 or 2006. To get there, Ordonez said, the company would seek to "partner early on," including a collaboration with a large reference lab in the US, Europe, and Japan.

Jason Molle, general manager of Celera Genomics' online business, talked about shaping Celera's traditional data business into the "gold standard" for data. "No company has solved the problem of effectively managing or integrating" all of the genomic data currently available, he said. "We want to be the one-stop shop for users."


Craig Venter, the firm's president, meanwhile, promised that revenue for Celera Genomics' online data business will surge 40 percent to 50 percent and "will be profitable this year," he said. Molle supported this by predicting $250 million growth in annual revenue and an increase in subscribers to 50,000 over the next two years.

Although White said that Applera's various units were becoming integrated—the proteomics, online, and medicinal chemistry groups working within Celera Genomics on projects that bear on the diagnostics group, with both groups using reagents and instruments from Applied Biosystems—he remained conservative about striking deals with outside companies.

"We have enough resources to go it alone, if needed," he stressed, but added that any arrangements "would be determined by individual parties."

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