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Beckman Coulter, BD Diagnostics, FFE Weber, Molecular Devices, PerkinElmer, Analytical Sciences, ABI, Geospiza

Beckman Coulter Q1 Revenues Rise 7 Percent, Profit Jumps 16 Percent

Beckman Coulter this week reported a 7-percent increase in first-quarter revenues and a 16-percent jump in net earnings.

Revenues for the quarter ended March 31 increased to $576.1 million from $536.8 million during the same period last year. Both the company's Clinical Diagnostics and Biomedical Research divisions contributed about equally to this increase.

Research and development costs remained flat at $48 million.

Beckman's net income for the quarter increased to $41.4 million, or $.62 per share, from $35.6 million, or $.54 per share, during the same period last year.

As of March 31, Beckman Coulter had $105.2 million in cash and cash equivalents.

BD Diagnostics Acquires Protein-Separation Firm FFE Weber

BD Diagnostics, a segment of Becton Dickinson, has acquired the technology and other assets of FFE Weber, a German company that specializes in the separation and fractionation of complex proteins.

Located near the Max-Planck Institute in Munich, FFE Weber manufactures and sells the Free Flow Electrophoresis protein-separation system. The technology enables a pre-analytical protein separation step "that, when used in combination with high performance liquid chromatography, 2D-gel and mass spectrometry-based protein analytical procedures, allows deeper interrogation into the plasma proteome than is possible with current methodologies," BD said in a statement.

The acquisition "represents an important step in BD's strategy to invest in emerging technologies which position the company in areas that hold promise for new diagnostic methods, such as the evolution of protein biomarker research into the clinical diagnostic lab of the future," Edward Ludwig, BD chairman, president and CEO, said in the statement.

Gerhard Weber, who founded FFE Weber and has functioned as owner and lead inventor for "many years," will "work closely" with BD after the sale.

The financial terms were not disclosed, though BD said they "are not material" to the company.

Molecular Devices Books 43-Percent Increase In Q1 Revenues

Molecular Devices last week reported increased revenues and profits for the first quarter of 2005.

Revenues for the quarter were $39.1 million, up year-over-year from $27.3 million. Both the life sciences and drug discovery product areas contributed to the growth.

Research and development costs increased to $6.2 million from $4 million during the year-ago period.

The company's net income for the quarter totaled $2.2 million, or $.13 per share, up from $1.4 million, or $.10 per share, during last year's first quarter.

As of March 31, Molecular Devices had $8.3 million in cash and cash equivalents.

PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences Revenue Up 6 Percent in Q1

PerkinElmer last week reported a 6-percent rise in first-quarter 2005 revenue from its Life and Analytical Sciences unit, and revenue growth for the quarter of 6 percent for the company overall.

PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences revenues for the first three months of 2005 increased to $264.8 million from $249.2 million year over year. The company attributed the growth to "strong growth in genetic screening, medical imaging, environmental and service."

The unit's other businesses include "biopharma" and "biotech imaging."

The company's overall revenues for the quarter were $416.3 million, up $23.6 million from first-quarter 2004 revenues of $392.6 million.

Net income in the first quarter rose from $13.2 million, or $.15 per share, in 2004 to $19.8 million, or $.10 per share, in 2005.

R&D spending in the period grew to $23.6 million from $20.2 million in the similar quarter of 2004.

As of April 3, the company reported cash and cash equivalents of $184.2 million, with total current assets of $743.2 million.

ABI Technologies to Help Alaska Researchers Genotype Wild Pacific Salmon

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will expand a salmon genotyping project using Applied Biosystems' technology, the organizations said last week.

The project's goal is to track migration patterns and intermixing of wild Pacific salmon populations, and to identify risk factors for the decline of the fish stocks.

Using a small piece of the salmon fin, department researchers will sequence and then genotype salmon DNA to select SNPs as markers for populations studies. These markers will be included in a standardized database, to be used by Pacific coastal nations, including the US, Russia, Japan, and Korea.

The researchers plan to use ABI's 3730 DNA analyzers, TaqMan SNP genotyping assays, and real-time PCR systems.

Geospiza Closes $1 Million Financing Round; Cash Will Help ABI Deal

Geospiza has completed a $1 million round of convertible debt financing with private individuals, the company said this week.

"Though Geospiza is profitable already, the new funding will support the company's product development work with Applied Biosystems," Todd Smith, chairman and CEO of Geospiza, said in a statement.

ABI and Geospiza are collaborating to develop and market a laboratory information management system for sequencing laboratories. Under an agreement inked in early February, the two partners are integrating ABI's LS*LIMS software with Geospiza's Finch Suite to improve workflows for DNA sequencing data. SeqWright, a DNA technologies service provider, is already using the integrated platform as an early access customer.

ABI also had agreed to become a worldwide reseller of Geospiza's Finch System software.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

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.