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APBiotech Posts 13 Percent Hike in H1 Revenues

NEW YORK, Aug 7 – Amersham Pharmacia of London said Tuesday its Amersham Pharmacia Biotech unit posted overall sales of 325.1 million pounds ($460.2 million) in the first half of the year, up 13 percent from the same period a year ago.

Within APBiotech, the company reported a 22 percent increase in its protein purification separations business to 130 million pounds, a one percent increase in sales of laboratory products to 93 million pounds, and a nine percent increase in drug discovery sales to 71 million pounds.

APBiotech said that strong proteomics sales within its drug discovery business unit were somewhat offset by sequencing sales, which continued to slow in the period.

"In 2001 there has been a slowdown in the sequencing market, particularly in North America and Europe, compared with a very high growth seen last year," Amersham Pharmacia said in a statement. "This has partly been offset by good growth in the Far East and Latin America."

Looking ahead, the company said it expects the sequencing market to continue to grow, but at a slower rate. 

During the first half of the year, the company launched two genomics reagents, the DYEnamic ET terminator kits that can be used on competiting sequencing instruments, and TempliPhi, a DNA amplification kit.

The company said it would launch the Lucidea Array Spotter later this year, which will be designed to allow researchers to create higher density microarrays in less time. APBiotech said it would also later this year be launching new proteomics technologies, including a liquid chromatography mass spec system and a spot handling platform. 

In its separations business, which provides chromatographic systems for protein purification, APBiotech said it is currently supplying systems to a number of new plants around the world. During the first six months of 2001, APBiotech launched several new Chromaflow columns as well as Inactine, a compound for deactivating viruses.

The company’s laboratory products business, which offers technoloiges to purify, analyze, and detect biological molecules, saw slight, albeit renewed, sales growth. The company attributed the recovery to its focus on developing products for gene expression and protein analysis. The laboratory products unit also said its Internet strategy was working to help beef up customer and sales support.

During the first half of the year, APBiotech continued to invest heavily in research and development, posting a 24 percent increase in to 44 million pounds. The increase in R&D spending weighed on operating profit, which fell six percent to 27.8 million pounds. 

Sales for the company’s Nycomed Amersham Imaging business, which includes medical diagnostics and therapy products, totaled 457.8 million pounds in the first half of 2001, up 13 percent over the year ago period.

Overall, Amersham’s total revenues rose 13 percent to 782.9 million pounds in the first half of the year. Research and development spending was up 25 percent overall to 88.3 million pounds.

Amersham had total operating profits of 143 million pounds in the first half of the year, compared with 116 million a year ago. Earnings per share widened to 13.6 pence in the first six months of the year, compared with 10.5 pence in the year ago period.