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ABI, BioTrove, Agilent, Invitrogen, Blue Heron, Sigma-Aldrich, Bruker, Thermo Fisher, Beckman Coulter, BioMérieux

ABI’s Q1 Revenues Rise 5 Percent; Launches SOLiD System
 
Applied Biosystems reported this week that its first-quarter 2008 revenues rose 5 percent to $501.2 million from $476.3 million a year ago.
 
Instrument sales declined 4 percent year over year to $189.4 million, while consumables sales were up 12 percent to $216.2 million, and other sources — which includes service and support, royalties, licenses, and consulting fees — gained 10 percent to $95.6 million.
 
By product line, revenues for DNA sequencing products declined 2 percent to $129 million, real-time PCR/applied genomics products increased 15 percent to $180.1 million, mass spectrometry products increased 4 percent to $121.1 million, core PCR & DNA synthesis products were up 1 percent to $46.6 million, and other product lines dropped 8 percent to $24.4 million.
 
Sales in the US grew 2 percent to $223.9 million for the quarter, while sales in Europe rose 11 percent to $156.8 million, sales were up 2 percent to $47.8 million in Japan, and up 8 percent to $51.2 million in other Asia Pacific countries.
 
ABI’s R&D costs increased 12 percent to $50.6 million, while selling, general, and administrative costs rose 10 percent to $148.4 million.
 
ABI posted net income of $60.9 million, or $.32 per share, compared with a net loss of $58.7 million, or $.32 per share, in the comparable period a year ago. Last year’s results included a non-recurring charge of $114.3 million for the write-off of acquired in-process R&D associated with the firm’s purchase of Agencourt Personal Genomics.
 
ABI also announced this week at the American Society of Human Genetics meeting in San Diego that it has formally launched its SOLiD next-generation DNA sequencing system.
 
The company began an early-access program for the system earlier this year, and has since improved throughput four-fold and increased read lengths by 40 percent. ABI said the version launched this week can deliver up to 4 billion bases of sequence data per run, “establishing it as the highest throughput next-generation sequencing platform available today.”
 

 
BioTrove, Agilent In Mass Spec Co-Marketing Pact
 
BioTrove and Agilent Technologies will co-market an Agilent mass spectrometer with BioTrove’s sample-preparation systems, the companies said last week.
 
Specifically, the firms will co-market Agilent’s 6410 triple quadrupole mass spec with BioTrove’s RapidFire high-throughput sample-prep systems.
 
BioTrove said the RF-MS will be used to screen in high-throughput “previously intractable drug targets, cytochrome P450 inhibition, and other pre-clinical ADME assays."
 
“Together, we are enabling walk-away analysis of lead compounds against valuable targets that would be otherwise impossible to screen, helping biopharma clients meet the challenge of accelerating drug discovery research," BioTrove CEO Al Luderer said in a statement.
 

 
Wildfires Force Invitrogen to Close Carlsbad Facility for Most Employees; Distribution Unhindered
 
Invitrogen said this week that the wildfires that have been ravaging southern California have forced it to shutter its facility in Carlsbad for the majority of its employees, but that it is still distributing products from there.
 
"Our priority continues to be the safety and well-being of our employees and their families, many of whom live in areas in San Diego County that have been evacuated," CEO Greg Lucier said in a statement.
 
"From a business perspective, we have sound business continuity plans in place and are attempting to maintain business operations as close to normal as possible,” Lucier said. “We expect the majority of our domestic and international orders to be filled through the efforts of personnel from various global distribution sites.”
 
The fires have damaged land and property throughout the region and have spurred the state government to call for mandatory mass evacuations in San Diego and Carlsbad, which is located just up the coast.
 
According to news reports, more than a dozen fires blazed from north of Los Angeles to the Mexican border, torching 1,500 houses and other buildings and forcing more than 500,000 people to evacuate their homes, including an undisclosed number of Invitrogen employees.
 
San Diego County officials said approximately 513,000 people in the district had received mandatory evacuation orders and an additional 12,000 had been advised to leave their homes.
 
Officials from Illumina, which is located in San Diego, said this week that its facilities were unaffected by the fires (see related article).
 

 
Invitrogen to Co-Exclusively Distribute Blue Heron’s Synthetic Genes
 
Invitrogen said last week it will now co-exclusively distribute Blue Heron Biotechnology’s custom synthesis genes worldwide, updating an alliance it penned last year that made it the exclusive distributor.
 
Terms of the revamped deal call for Invitrogen to continue to supply Blue Heron’s GeneMaker technology to its pharmaceutical and life sciences customers worldwide.
 
In the original agreement, disclosed in December 2006, Invitrogen said it made an undisclosed equity investment in Blue Heron in return for becoming its exclusive worldwide distributor. Invitrogen said at that time it was shifting away from its history as a provider of clones to becoming a synthetic gene provider.
 
Financial terms of the revamped agreement were not disclosed.
 

 
Sigma-Aldrich’s Q3 Revenues Climb 14 Percent
 
Sigma-Aldrich this week said that its third-quarter revenues rose 14 percent to $503.2 million from $441.4 million in last year’s third quarter.
 
Sales for its Research Essentials unit grew 8.6 percent, while sales for its Research Specialties unit rose 13.6 percent, sales for Research Biotech grew 11.2 percent, and sales for Sigma-Aldrich Fine Chemicals rose 19.8 percent.
 
The firm noted in a press release that sales for molecular biology products were particularly strong in the quarter.
 
Sigma-Aldrich’s R&D costs climbed to $15 million from $13.2 million, and Selling, general, and administrative costs were $128.3 million compared with $112.9 million last year.
 
The firm posted a profit of $71.6 million, or $.54 per share, compared with net earnings of $68.4 million, or $.51 per share, in the third quarter a year ago.
 
Sigma-Aldrich finished the quarter with $202.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.
 

 
Bruker Opens Demonstration and Training Center in Beijing
 
Bruker BioSciences announced this week that it has opened a modern applications, demonstration, and customer training laboratory in Beijing.
 
The new center features products from Bruker Daltonics, Bruker AXS, Bruker BioSpin and Bruker Optics.
 
Among the products at the facility are Bruker Daltonics autoflex III Smartbeam MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometer, its microflex high-performance bench-top MALDI-TOF system, and its HCTultra PTM Discovery system.
 

 
Thermo Fisher to Open Biopharma Services Facility in India
 
Thermo Fisher Scientific said this week that it has broken ground on a $17 million facility in Ahmadabad, India, to support its biopharma services business.
 
The new facility will provide packaging, global distribution, and logistics management for regulated pharmaceutical samples used in clinical trials worldwide.
 
The firm expects to open the new facility in spring 2008 and employ approximately 100 people in its first year of operation.
 

 
Beckman Coulter Declares Dividend
 
Beckman Coulter’s board of directors this week declared a quarterly dividend payout of $.16 per share of outstanding stock, payable on Nov. 19 to shareholders of record on Nov. 5.
 
The payout marks the 74th consecutive quarterly dividend for the firm.
 

 
BioMérieux Gets FDA Clearance for Sepsis Test
 
BioMérieux said last week that the US Food and Drug Administration has cleared its in vitro diagnostic that tests for a patient’s risk of developing severe sepsis and septic shock.
 
The company said its VIDAS B.R.A.H.M.S. PCT assay is designed to help assess the risk that a critically ill patient with a bacterial infection faces of developing severe sepsis or septic shock. BioMérieux launched the assay in Europe earlier this year.
 
The test, which measures procalcitonin, a biomarker for bacterial infections, is to be administered on a patient’s first day of admittance into the intensive care unit and takes around 20 minutes to produce results, BioMérieux said.
 
“As the progression of severe bacterial infections is affected by how early the patient receives appropriate treatment, measuring PCT levels is valuable in ICUs where sepsis represents a major health challenge,” the company said in a statement.