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Agilent Technologies, Caliper Life Sciences, Millipore, Becton Dickinson, Sequenom, Invitrogen, Vermillion, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Roche, Eppendorf

Agilent Teams with BioNanomatrix on Genetic Analysis System
Agilent Technologies and BioNanomatrix will team to develop an integrated genetic analysis system with applications in genotoxicity and cytogenetics, and potentially DNA sequencing, the companies said this week.
Under the agreement, the companies plan to combine BioNanomatrix’s single-molecule imaging technology to develop chips and reagents with a measurement platform developed by Agilent.
Philadelphia-based BioNanomatrix is currently developing nanoscale single-molecule technology that will enable identification and analysis of an entire genome, the company said. The firm recently formed a joint venture with Complete Genomics to use an $8.8 million grant from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop a platform aimed at sequencing a human genome in eight hours for under $100.
“BioNanomatrix’s unique nanoscale whole genome imaging and analysis technology, with sensitivity at the level of the single molecule, has the potential to enable a number of important new applications for life sciences research and clinical medicine,” said Agilent GM of Life Sciences Solutions Nick Roelofs.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Caliper’s Q3 Revenues Rise 38 Percent; Net Loss Tumbles
Caliper Life Sciences this week said that its third-quarter revenues rose 38 percent on strong microfludics sales and its net loss fell 82 percent year over year.
For the three months ended Sept. 30, Caliper brought in revenues of $36.7 million, up from revenues of $26.5 million in last year’s third quarter. The firm said that revenue growth was driven by last year’s acquisition of Xenogen, its drug discovery services, and increased license fees from its microfluidic products.
Sales for Caliper’s microfluidics instruments and reagents grew 49 percent year over year. The firm attributed growth in that segment to the introduction earlier this year of its LabChip EZ Reader and ongoing sales of its LabChip 90 platform.
Microfluidics growth was offset by IVIS imaging revenues, which declined $1.5 million year over year, the firm said. Caliper said it anticipates imaging products will recover to “a sustainable 16 percent growth rate” in the fourth quarter and beyond.
The firm’s service revenue grew 71 percent in the quarter.
Caliper’s third-quarter net loss declined 82 percent to $2.4 million, or $.05 per share, from $13.5 million, or $.33 per share, in the comparable period a year ago.
Caliper’s R&D costs shrunk 34 percent to $5.7 million from $8.7 million year over year, while its selling, general, and administrative costs increased 7 percent.
Caliper finished the quarter with $14.2 million in cash and cash equivalents.
The firm expects to report revenues in a range of $37 million to $40 million for the fourth quarter, and $137 million to $140 million for full-year 2007.

Millipore’s Q3 Profit Soars as Revenues Climb 12 Percent
Millipore last week said that its third-quarter revenues increased 12 percent as profit shot up nearly 150 percent.
Total revenue for the three months ended Sept. 29 increased to $371.2 million from $330.1 million year over year.
Sales in the company's Bioprocess segment rose 8 percent to $210.5 million, while Bioscience revenue rose 19 percent to $160.7 million.
“Our accelerated Bioscience revenue growth was offset by slower growth from our Bioprocess Division," said Millipore Chairman and CEO Martin Madaus. "After a strong first half of the year, some of our North American biotech customers are significantly reducing their spending in the second-half of 2007.”
Notable growth in Asia and in Europe offset the diminished North American sales, he added.
The company said its profit surged to $36.3 million, or $.66 per share, from $14.8 million, $.27 per share, in the year-ago period.
Millipore's R&D spending increased to $26.5 million from $24.6 million year over year, while its selling, general, and administrative costs increased to $118.1 million from $106.8 million.
Millipore said it had around $24.3 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Sept. 29.

BD Posts Strong Q4 Revenues, Profit
Becton Dickinson reported last week that its fiscal fourth-quarter revenues rose 13 percent as its profit soared 44 percent and R&D spending increased 22 percent.
BD’s total revenues for the three months ended Sept. 30 increased to $1.65 billion from $1.46 billion year over year.
BD said revenues from its Diagnostics segment grew 16 percent to $497.9 million, while Biosciences revenue rose 14 percent to $284.9 million. Revenue from the Medical segment rose 10.8 percent to $868.3 million.  
The firm’s R&D spending for the quarter rose to $100.4 million from $82.4 million year over year, while its selling, general, and administrative costs grew to $400 million from $$378.3 million.
BD posted a profit of $251 million, or $.99 per share, from $174 million, or $.68 per share, in the year-ago period.
For full-year 2007, BD reported revenue of $6.4 billion, an 11 percent increase over revenue of $5.7 billion in fiscal 2006. The firm’s 2007 profit was $881.3 million, a 17.1 percent gain on last year’s net earnings of $752.3 million.

Sequenom’s Q3 Revenues, Loss Surge
Sequenom last week said that its third-quarter revenue surged 51 percent $9.8 million from $6.5 million year over year.
CEO Harry Stylli said in a statement that the increase was driven by “strong contributions from MassArray system placements and consumables as well as our Contract Research Services business.”
Sequenom said sales of consumables rose 25 percent to $4 million, while other product-related sales increased 63 percent to $4.9 million. Meantime, receipts from services were up more than 150 percent to $885,000.
The company’s net loss grew to $5.5 million, or $.14 per share, from $4.6 million, or $.14 per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Sequenom’s R&D spending decreased to $2.8 million from $3 million year over year.
Stylli said the firm expects to raise around $28.1 million in a private stock placement to help it launch a non-invasive fetal genetic test and other products “designed to support additional growth in our core MassArray systems and services businesses."
Sequenom said it had $29.1 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments as of Sept. 30.

SEC Files Suit Against Former Invitrogen Employee for Insider Trading
The US Securities and Exchange Commission late last month sued a former Invitrogen official for allegedly trading stock on insider knowledge in 2004.
In its complaint, the SEC accuses Harry Yim of sparing himself $80,000 in losses and profiting to the tune of $410,000 by selling shares in Invitrogen soon after the company was informed in a July 7, 2004, meeting that it is in a “crisis” and that “fully 60 percent of Invitrogen’s business is shrinking.”
The complaint states that after the 2004 meeting Yim sold 1,603 shares and exercised options to sell an additional 4,728 shares for proceeds of around $410,000. He made his trades two days before Invitrogen issued that year's second-quarter earnings report, which caused the stock to tumble 20 percent that day.
The SEC is suing Yim, who was a molecular geneticist and executive with Invitrogen until he was fired in 2006, in a US District Court for the Southern District of California for the amount of losses he avoided, plus interest, and for a civil penalty, the Commission said.

Invitrogen, Bio-Rad Launch MRSA Surveillance Products
Invitrogen and Bio-Rad Laboratories announced separately this week that they have released new surveillance products for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
Invitrogen and its partner Biosynth jointly announced this week that they have launched a fluorescence-based culture medium for rapid detection of MRSA in hospitals and other settings.
The BCM MRSA ELF culture media is manufactured and sold by Staad, Switzerland-based Biosynth under a license from Invitrogen’s Molecular Probes business. According to the firms, the new product can detect a living MRSA colony in a sample in eight to 12 hours compared to current culture methods, which take 48 hours to yield a result.
In a separate announcement, Bio-Rad said this week that it has introduced to the US market this week its MRSASelect test, which is a chromogenic medium used for MRSA surveillance. Bio-Rad’s test can identify MRSA carriers in 24 hours, the firm said.
Legislative initiatives are helping to drive an increase in the number of hospitals conducting MRSA surveillance. The infections cause more than 18,000 deaths annually in the US and cost the healthcare system roughly $2.5 billion per year, according to Invitrogen.
The culture methods launched by Invitrogen and Bio-Rad compete with other standard cultures and new molecular tests, such as the US Food and Drug Administration-cleared tests sold by Cepheid and Becton Dickinson. A growing number of molecular diagnostic developers have also recently said that they intend to develop tests for the MRSA surveillance market.

Vermillion Expects $2M Payment from Bio-Rad Following Patent Re-Issue
The US Patent and Trademark Office has re-issued a patent covering SELDI mass spec-related technology to Vermillion, formerly called Ciphergen, that entitles the diagnostics developer to a $2 million payment from Bio-Rad Laboratories, Vermillion said this week.
Bio-Rad agreed to the payment when it bought Vermillion’s proteomics tools business a year ago for $20 million in cash and a $3 million investment.
After Ciphergen unloaded its proteomics tools business in order to focus on diagnostics, the company changed its name to Vermillion.
The mass spectrometry patent, US No. 6,734,022, is related to a method and apparatus used for analyte desorption and ionization, and is assigned to Baylor College of Medicine, Vermillion said when the USPTO declared it would give the company a re-examination certificate for the technology.
In separate news related to the firm, Vermillion revealed in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week that CFO Debra Young resigned on Nov. 1 due to “personal reasons.”
Vermillion said it has tapped its current corporate controller, Qun (Taya) Zhou, to step into the CFO role on an interim basis.

Bio-Rad’s Q3 Sales Spike Driven by Clinical Dx
Bio-Rad Laboratories this week said that its third-quarter revenues increased 11 percent to $339.7 million from $304.8 million year over year.
Revenue from the company’s Clinical Diagnostics segment rose 17.6 percent to $193.3 million, while receipts from the Life Science division grew 4.1 percent to $143 million.
The company said its Life Science revenue was up in part due to sales of its recently released ProteOn protein array system, and Clinical Diagnostics revenue was boosted by “strong sales across all product lines.”
Bio-Rad said its September acquisition of DiaMed Holding for around $400 million will be reflected in its fourth quarter financial statement. 
Bio-Rad's net income rose 21 percent to $28 million, or $1.03 per share, from $23.2 million, or $.86 per share, in the year-ago period.
The firm’s R&D spending rose to $33.1 million from $31 million year over year, and its selling, general, and administrative costs increased to $117.7 million from $106 million.
Bio-Rad said it had around $472.8 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Sept. 30.

Roche Licenses Melting Curve Technology to Eppendorf
Roche Diagnostics has licensed its Melting Curve Analysis technology to Eppendorf, the companies said this week.
The non-exclusive agreement allows Eppendorf to develop and commercialize products based on the technology, which is a technique for analyzing PCR products. The deal does not allow Eppendorf to use the IP in human and veterinary in vitro diagnostics.
The Melting Curve Analysis technology identifies DNA and is used after PCR. It involves heating the PCR product slowly until each double-stranded DNA rises to its unique melting temperature. 
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.

Study Reveals Potential Sex-Specific Role for Noncoding RNA in Depression

A long, noncoding RNA called FEDORA appears to be a sex-specific regulator of major depressive disorder, affecting more women, researchers report in Science Advances.

New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.