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Agilent, Bio-Rad, Ciphergen, Waters, Advion, Bruker AXS, Am Tech/JSA, Invitrogen, Mauna Kea, Sigma-Aldrich, Illumina, Solexa

Agilent’s Q4 Revenues Rise 6 Percent
 
Agilent Technologies this week said fiscal fourth-quarter revenues increased 6 percent as R&D spending fell 8 percent and profit surged 508 percent.
 
Total receipts for the three months ended Sept. 30 increased to $1.33 billion from $1.25 billion year over year.
 
Revenue for the company’s Bio-Analytical Measurement segment rose 9 percent to $418 million.
 
R&D spending decreased to $155 million from $168 million year over year.
 
The company said its profit increased to $152 million, or $.36 per share, from $25 million, or $.05 per share, in the year-ago period. Last year’s results included restructuring charges and other items that dragged its profit down from $193 million, or $.38 per share.
 
Agilent said it had around $2.3 billion in cash and equivalents as of Sept. 30.
 
During the quarter, Agilent said its return on invested capital was at 29 percent, and the company began a two-year, $2-billion stock repurchase program.
 
The company said it expects fiscal first-quarter 2007 revenues to be between $1.25 billion and $1.29 billion, or between 7 percent and 10 percent better than the same quarter of 2006.
 

 
Bio-Rad Completes Acquisition of Ciphergen Proteomics Business
 
Bio-Rad Laboratories has finalized its purchase of Ciphergen Biosystems’ proteomics tools business, the company said this week.
 
The companies had expected the deal, which was announced in August, to close November 1, but it was delayed for undisclosed reasons after receiving shareholder approval in late October.
 
Bio-Rad paid Ciphergen $20 million in cash and made a $3 million equity investment in the company to purchase its ProteinChip business and worldwide technology rights to its Surface Enhanced Laser Desorption Ionization (SELDI) technology. Also included in the agreement are “certain product lines,” manufacturing capability, intellectual property, and rights to Ciphergen’s established customer base.
 
Bio-Rad CEO Norman Schwartz said in a statement that the acquisition of Ciphergen’s tools for protein profiling and biomarker discovery will enable the company to “offer a more complete range of tools of proteomics workflows.”
 
Last week, Ciphergen posted a 34-percent drop in third-quarter revenue, while Bio-Rad reported an 8-percent increase in revenues for the quarter (see BioCommerce Week 11/8/2006).
 

 
Waters, Advion Finish Evaluating Integration of Synapt with NanoMate Tech
 
Waters and Advion Biosciences have completed the evaluation phase of a product-integration effort and kicked off a co-marketing campaign last week at the LC-MS Montreux Symposium in Switzerland, Waters said.
 
The companies are integrating Advion’s TriVersa NanoMate infusion technology with Waters’ Synapt high definition mass spectrometer into a platform that Waters said will help researchers maximize the information they can pull from large quantities of samples.
 
An Advion spokesperson said the products will be interoperable in three to six months.
 
Waters’ Synapt can probe the size and shape of ions, while Advion’s NanoMate makes it easier to maintain the “native conformation of protein or peptide ions into the gas phase,” which the company said also increases reproducibility.
 
Waters said the integrated product will be used to “analyze monoclonal antibodies, multi-protein and protein-ligand complexes,” as well as for “top down proteomics and metabolite identification."
 

 
Bruker AXS Boosts Global Customer Support Staff by 30 Percent
 
Bruker AXS last week said that it is increasing its global customer support staff by 30 percent, or 32 people, in response to increased demand from international customers.
 
The industrial X-ray analysis and spark-OES tool-making branch of Bruker Biosciences also said it is expanding its 24/7 customer phone support services to include its global customers. The company has subsidiaries in Poland, Korea, India, and China.
 
A Bruker AXS spokesperson said the expansion includes 12 new staffers to serve the North American market and 20 who will be distributed globally to provide service support to international customers. Bruker said all of the new additions will be up and running by January. 
 

 
Investment Bank Upgrades Thermo’s Stock
 
Investment bank Am Tech/JSA increased Thermo Fisher Scientific’s stock to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’ and raised the firm’s stock target price to $54 from $39.
 
The upgrade came a day after Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific closed their $10.6 billion merger (see related article).
 

 
Invitrogen, Mauna Kea in Imaging Co-Promotion Pact
In vivo cellular-imaging company Mauna Kea Technologies said this week that it will jointly promote its instruments with Invitrogen reagents.
 
Mauna Kea, headquartered both in Paris and Cambridge, Mass., said the combination of its fluorescent fiber optic microscopy with fluorescent reagents made by Invitrogen division Molecular Probes will allow customers to generate target images in living animals.   
 
Invitrogen said the pairing anticipates greater demand for molecular imaging.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Sigma-Aldrich Declares Stock, Cash Dividend
 
Sigma-Aldrich said this week that its board of directors has declared a 100 percent stock dividend, under which shareholders of record on Dec. 15 will receive one share of common stock for each share held.
 
The stock dividend will be paid on Jan. 2, 2007.
 
In addition, Sigma-Aldrich will pay a cash dividend of $.21 per share on Dec. 15 to shareholders of record on Dec. 1.
 

 
Illumina to Acquire Solexa in $600M Stock Deal
 
Illumina this week said that it will acquire next-generation sequencing firm Solexa in a stock deal worth approximately $600 million.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, Solexa shareholders will receive Illumina common stock at $14 per share, and Illumina will invest $50 million in Solexa for newly issued Solexa shares.
 
Solexa’s shares were trading at $9.70 at market close on Friday and the company’s market capitalization was $354 million.
 
Illumina said the deal should close by the first quarter of 2007, although it is still subject to regulatory approval as well as that of both companies' stockholders.
 
Illumina claimed that the merger will create “the only company with genome-scale technology for genotyping, gene expression, and sequencing,” and estimated that the market opportunity for Solexa's genetic analysis system combined with its own technologies will be around $2.25 billion.  
 
Solexa CEO John West, who will join Illumina as senior vice president and general manager of the sequencing business, said that together the two companies "expect to reach and exceed the milestone of the $100,000 genome."
 
Illumina said it expects to retain Solexa's offices in Hayward, Calif., and in Cambridge, UK, and added that Illumina will add two Solexa board members to its board of directors.
 
Illumina expects the acquisition to be “significantly accretive” after 2008.
 

Solexa generated $4.2 million in revenues in 2005, although none of its revenues to date have come from its sequencing platform. The same day the deal was announced, Solexa reported a 33-percent decrease in its third-quarter revenues to $569,000.

The Scan

Driving Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Down

Researchers from the UK and Italy have tested a gene drive for mosquitoes to limit the spread of malaria, NPR reports.

Office Space to Lab Space

The New York Times writes that some empty office spaces are transforming into lab spaces.

Prion Pause to Investigate

Science reports that a moratorium on prion research has been imposed at French public research institutions.

Genome Research Papers on Gut Microbe Antibiotic Response, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Clues to Metabolism, More

In Genome Research this week: gut microbial response to antibiotic treatment, approach to gauge metabolic features from single-cell RNA sequencing, and more.