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Caliper Reports Increased Q4 Revenues, But Dips Back into Red

NEW YORK, Feb 1 – Ending a quarter marked mainly by its settlement of its long patent infringement lawsuit with Aurora Biosciences, Caliper technologies reported Thursday that its revenues for the fourth quarter jumped 55 percent from the year-ago quarter, based on a new deal with Agilent technologies, while operating expenses also jumped to account for increased R&D and intellectual property expenditures.

Caliper’s revenues totaled $5 million for the fourth quarter, compared to $3.2 million for the same period in 1999. The company attributed slightly over half of this increase to product sales from its Protein 200 LabChip kit, which automatically analyzes protein samples and is sold with Agilent’s 2100 bioanalyzer; as well as revenues from its technology access program. The company began shipping this product in November. Other LabChip kit orders also doubled compared to the year-ago quarter, according to Dan Kisner, Caliper CEO.

Meanwhile, Caliper’s R&D expenses nearly doubled from the year-ago quarter, to $11.7 million from $6.1 million. Its general and administrative costs increased to $2.5 million from $1.8 million in the fourth quarter of 1999.

  After posting net income of $6.1 million for the third quarter, Caliper dipped back into the red, posting losses of $5.8 million, or 25 cents per share, for the fourth quarter. The company was boosted into the black in the third quarter due to its $12 million settlement in a breach of duty and trade-secret misappropriation lawsuit against Aurora.

The fourth quarter losses were more significant than expected, dropping lower than Wall Street's expectation of 25 cents per share, as reported in a survey of six brokers by FirstCall/Thomson Financial . These losses included a $1.3 million reimbursement from Agilent for litigation expenses that Caliper incurred in defending against Aurora’s patent suit.

On January 8, the companies reached a final settlement in their multi-faceted patent litigation, and agreed to cross-license their technologies. Aclara also issued 900,000 shares of its common stock to Caliper, on the condition that if Caliper's shares of Aclara’s stock do not reach a total value of $32 million, or $36.11 per share in 18 months, Aclara would also make a cash payment to Caliper to make up for the difference between $32 million and the stock value.

" Our financial performance in the fourth quarter of 2000 was driven by revenue from product sales of the personal laboratory system and high throughput screening systems, as well as R&D support, and was in line with our objectives for the quarter," said Jim Knighton, Chief Financial Officer, in a statement. " We also benefited from the payment of $1.3 million from Agilent Technologies (or $0.05 per share) for litigation expenses, in the form of reimbursement, which was recorded as income but not revenue."

The company also said it has received orders for its new Automated Microfluidics System

90, which performs high throughput analysis of nucleic acids, and anticipates shipping the product in the end of the first quarter.  

During the quarter, the company also penned an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline in which the pharma company joined Caliper's application development program for its LabChip Products; and signed a collaboration with Structural Genomix to develop Caliper’s LabChip proteomics products for the AMS 90, which it plans to introduce later in the year.

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