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Aclara s Revenues Flat, Q3 Losses Widen Sharply

NEW YORK, Nov 15 – Aclara Biosciences third-quarter revenues inched up just one percent, while costly litigation and other expenses drove losses up sharply, the company said Wednesday.   

Aclara’s revenues for the third quarter of 2000 were $946,000, compared with $935,000 in the year-ago quarter.

During the quarter, Aclara’s operating expenses rose significantly, to $12.7 million from $2.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

“The growth in operating expenses in the third quarter of 2000 compared to the third quarter of 1999 is primarily due to increased intellectual property litigation expenses of $3.6 million, increased amortization of non-cash stock-based compensation of $2.6 million, expanded product development activities, and a one-time charge of $1.75 million recorded in connection with the settlement of a dispute with 2C Optics/Rodenstock,” the company said in a statement.   

These losses also include a one-time payment of $4.1 million for the payoff of capital leases and equipment financing loans.

The report did not include liabilities stemming from Caliper’s trade secret lawsuit against Aclara.   On October 29, a jury found Aclara liable for $52.5 million in damages. Aclara said in its quarterly statement that it expects this award to be reduced to between $35.5 and $40.5 million on appeal, but cannot report its exact liabilities until the matter is resolved.

This liability could substantially reduce but would not wipe out Aclara’s reported total cash assets, which total $198.6 million at the end of the quarter.  

The company’s net losses increased to $9.6 million, or 28 cents a share, up from $1.9 million, or nine cents a share, for the third quarter of 1999.

Meanwhile, the company said its development of eTag reporters, which enable multiplexing of 5 prime nuclease enzyme chemistries for gene expression and SNPs, is proceeding at a greater-than-expected rate. “We have developed a multiplex set of over 25 eTag reporters and have set an aggressive target of 50 multiplexed eTag reporters by year's end,” said Aclara president Joseph Limber.        

The company is constructing a manufacturing area for eTags, and is building new research labs at its Mountain View, Calif. facility, Limber said.

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