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As Expected, Weak US Sales Cut in Half Ciphergen s Q1 Revenues

NEW YORK, May 6 (GenomeWeb News) - Ciphergen Biosystems yesterday reported a 50-percent drop in revenues and widened losses for the first quarter of 2005.


Revenues for the three months ended March 31 sank to $6.6 million from $13.3 million recorded during the first quarter of 2004. This drop resulted mostly to "weakness in USsales," according to the company.


Anticipating this shortfall, Ciphergen last month began restructuring its sales program, including installing a new vice president of North Americanand European sales. The company also said it would boost its public relations effort.


"We are disappointed with our anticipated sales results for the first quarter," CEO Bill Rich said at the time. He added that Ciphergen is "enthusiastic about the future growth of the company as we continue to address the emerging biomarker proteomics research, pharma and diagnostic markets."


Research and development costs dropped to $3.5 million from $5.8 million during the year-ago quarter.


However, the company's net loss widened to $9.3 million, or $.26 per share, up from $7.5 million, or $.32 per share, during the same quarter last year.


As of March 31, Ciphergen had $30.1 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $2.2 million in short-term investments.


Pacific Growth Equities, which covers Ciphergen, said in a report last month that it is "starting to look grim" for the proteomics company. Pacific Growth expects Ciphergen to make between $4 million and $5 million in additional cuts in costs.


The company's cash position, approximately $30 million, which is expected to last for one year of operations, "is worrisome to us," the investment bank said. It said it expects Ciphergen shares to fall further "as the company has missed every quarter since we initiated coverage over a year ago."


Ciphergen made its April announcement soon after a number of shareholders  called for a no-confidence vote to oust top management.

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