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Aclara Q4 Revenues Slip, Net Losses Widen

NEW YORK, Feb 21 – Aclara Biosciences said Wednesday its fourth-quarter 2000 revenues slipped to $733,000, from $855,000 a year ago, as declining revenues from a drug screening offset revenue increases from government grants and a collaboration with Cellomics.

For 2000, revenues were up 21 percent to $3.5 million, mostly as a result of the Cellomics partnership.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology said operating expenses surged to $42.9 in the fourth quarter, compared with $3.9 million in the year earlier period. This included a $32.5 million charge stemming from the settlement of a legal dispute with Caliper Technologies. For the year, operating expenses rose to $71.6 million, compared with $11.3 million in 1999.

In January Aclara and Caliper said they reached a settlement agreement on three lawsuits, and agreed to cross-license their microfluidics technologies. Under the settlement, Aclara licensed Caliper’s plastic chip technology and Aclara issued 900,000 shares of its common stock to Caliper.

The settlement was the result of a long, complex battle in which a jury granted Caliper $52 million in damages against Aclara for misappropriating its trade secrets. A judge reduced these damages by $17 million. Meanwhile, Caliper had sued Aclara for infringing its lab-on-chip technology, and Aclara had sued Caliper for infringing on its microfluidics methods. These suits were dismissed as a result of the settlement.

Aclara posted a net loss of $38.9 million, or $1.15 a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $3.0 million, or 14 cents a share, in fourth-quarter 1999. For 2000, Aclara’s net losses widened to $59.2 million, or $1.76 a share, compared with $8.3 million, or 40 cents a share, in 1999.

Following an IPO in which it raised $217 million, Aclara had cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities worth $192.6 million at the end of 2000, up from $13,729 at the end of 1999.

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