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Celera Reports Slight Drop in Q1 Revenue, Higher R&D Costs, Widened Loss

NEW YORK, Oct. 24 - Celera Genomics today reported that an increase in R&D spending amid a drop in revenues helped increase total net loss during its fiscal first-quarter.


For the period ended Sept. 30, the Applera unit said net revenues fell to $23.6 million from $27.3 million in the same quarter one year ago. Celera said the drop was due to its decision not to pursue new customers for its sequencing services. However, the company added that receipts from its online business grew.


R&D spending in the current first quarter this year increased to $32.5 million from $27.8 million one year ago as SG&A spending fell to $7 million from $12.6 million in the first quarter last year, Celera said. The firm stressed that greater spending on drug discovery and in the Celera Diagnostics JV were "partially offset" by cutbacks in DNA sequencing efforts as Celera continues its headlong rush to become a therapeutics company.


First-quarter net loss increased to $19.6 million, or $.28 per share, from $15.6 million, or $.25 per share, one year ago, Celera Said.


Celera said it had approximately $881 million in cash and short-term investments as of Sept. 30.


"We have recently directed more resources to the advancement of internal drug development efforts ... ," said Celera President Kathy Ordoñez. "We are currently finalizing a business plan that delineates how we will expand our in-house development and clinical capability and advance these and other drug discovery programs."


Tony White, CEO of Applera, added: "We intend to provide more visibility regarding its strategy towards the end of this calendar year."


Looking ahead, Celera reiterated it expects to burn between $75 and $85 million in cash in 2003, a significant decrease from the $106 million it ate through last year. The company said helping that goal will be "anticipated reductions" in SG&A expenses and increased operating margin from the online-business arrangement it made with Applied Biosystems in April.


Celera also said it anticipates R&D expenses during the year to be in the range of $130 to $140 million and expects total revenues to come in between $85 and $95 million, which is based on its decision not to pursue new service business. Revenues from CDS subscriptions and from Knowledge Business royalties are expected to be between $75 and $80 million, the company said.

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