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Applera, Becton Dickinson, Agilent Technologies, GE Healthcare

Applera Accelerates Old Options Vesting

Applera’s board of directors has approved acceleration of the vesting of stock options held by employees and directors, the company said in an SEC filing last week. Options with vesting based on performance and those held by employees in certain foreign companies were not accelerated, the company said. The shares received on exercise held by directors and senior management may not be sold any earlier than the original vesting date, or upon termination.

Previously, the company said in light of new accounting regulations that will take effect in the next fiscal year, it would accelerate its options-vesting reported compensation expense in future periods.

As a result of the vesting acceleration, options to purchase approximately 13.6 million shares of Applera Corporation-Applied Biosystems group common stock and approximately 3.6 million shares of Applera Corporation-Celera Genomics group common stock became exercisable immediately. Based on stock prices at the close of the market on Jan. 20, 34 percent of the total accelerated Applied Biosystems group common stock options and 26 percent of the total accelerated Celera Genomics group common stock options were under water, below the strike price, with no economic value.

A compensation expense of approximately $1.7 million and approximately $1.1 million will be recorded in the current quarter for Applied Biosystems and Celera Genomics, respectively.

Applera said it does not expect to be required to recognize anticipated stock option expense for Applied Biosystems, net of taxes, of approximately $34.5 million in fiscal 2006, $21 million in fiscal 2007, and $11 million in fiscal 2008.

BD’s Q1 Revenues Up 9 Percent, Led by Biosciences, Medical Segment

Led by double-digit revenue growth in its biosciences and medical segments, Becton Dickinson this week reported quarterly revenues of $1.3 billion for its FY ‘05 first quarter, ending Dec. 31, up 9 percent over $1.2 billion in revenues for the year-ago period.

The company’s biosciences segment had revenues of $181 million, up 15 percent over the year-ago period’s $157 million. The rise in revenues was attributed primariliy to sales of the company’s FacsCanto analyzer, and the FacsAria cell sorter, and sales of flow cytometry reagents to the clinical and research markets.

BD Medical had sales of $694 million, up 11 percent over the year-ago period’s $627 million in revenue, while BD Diagnostics had sales of $414 million, up 3 percent over the previous period’s $401 million in sales.

BD’s operating income for the quarter was $250 million, up 48 percent over $168 million in Q1 FY ‘04. R&D expenditures were up 6.5 percent to $62 million for the period, compared to $58 million last year.

The company reported income of $1 million for revenue from its Clontech unit, which is now classified as discontinued operations as BD continues its plan to offer the unit for sale. No further details were provided on the possible sale of the Clontech unit.

Agilent Consolidates China Business Into New Holding Company; ships 1,000 ICP mass specs

Agilent Technologies has formed a Shanghai-based holding company, to consolidate its entities in China. Wayne Chan, president of Agilent Greater China, will oversee the operation and development of Agilent Technologies China Holding Co., which will manage the company’s 1,100-employee China efforts in R&D, manufacturing, sales, and support. The company has a Life Sciences Sciences and Chemical Analysis marketing and R&D group in Shangai, among operational units for the company’s other divisions.

Additionally, Agilent this week announced that it has shipped more than 1,000 of itst 7500 Series inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry systems, which were introduced in 2000. The tool, marketed by the company’s Chemical Analysis business unit, is used in environmental testing, food safety, forensics, homeland security, and semiconductor manufacturing.

GE Healthcare’s Revenues Jump 30 Percent; Increase in Orders Driven By Biosciences Products

GE Healthcare saw its revenues jump by almost 30 percent during the fourth quarter of 2004, contributing $4.3 billion, or about 10 percent, to GE’s total revenues. Healthcare’s revenues were $3.3 billion during the same quarter a year ago.

GE Healthcare’s profits also increased steeply, to $860 million, up from $572 million during the same quarter in 2003. These profits accounted for about 13 percent of GE’s total profits for the quarter.

GE said that orders for Healthcare products and services increased by 25 percent to $4.4 billion during the quarter, compared to the same period in 2003. The Biosciences unit, which used to be Amersham and was not part of GE in 2003, contributed $800 million to the overall orders, meaning that former Amersham contributed approximately 90 percent to the 25 percent increase in orders.

For the last quarter of 2003, Amersham reported £451 million ($859 million) in sales.

The Scan

Could Mix It Up

The US Food and Drug Administration is considering a plan that would allow for the mixing-and-matching of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and boosters, the New York Times says.

Closest to the Dog

New Scientist reports that extinct Japanese wolf appears to be the closest known wild relative of dogs.

Offer to Come Back

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the University of Tennessee is offering Anming Hu, a professor who was acquitted of charges that he hid ties to China, his position back.

PNAS Papers on Myeloid Differentiation MicroRNAs, Urinary Exosomes, Maize Domestication

In PNAS this week: role of microRNAs in myeloid differentiation, exosomes in urine, and more.