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Inverness, GE Capital, Biosite, Sigma-Aldrich, Agilent, Becton Dickinson, bioMerieux, Affymetrix, Gene Logic, Invitrogen, Luminex, Johns Hopkins, Sequenom

Inverness Gets Financial Backing from GE Capital, UBS in Biosite Bid
 
Biosite said last week that Inverness Medical Innovations plans to buy the company with financial backing from General Electric Capital Corporation and UBS Loan Finance and Securities.
 
In a revised commitment letter Inverness sent to Biosite and disclosed last week, Biosite said that GECC and UBSS would loan Inverness $1.3 billion. GECC will provide 40 percent of the amount and UBSS will drum up the 60 percent balance.
 
Inverness currently owns around 5 percent of Biosite, or around 799,000 shares, according to Nasdaq.
 
According to the revised commitment letter, the financing would include a $1.15 billion loan facility and $150 million revolving facility. These figures would depend on several conditions, including the possibility that other lenders may be brought into the deal.
 
Meanwhile, the German Federal Cartel Office this week approved Beckman’s bid to acquire Biosite.
 

 
Sigma-Aldrich’s Q1 Revenues Rise 12 Percent
 
Sigma-Aldrich this week said that its first-quarter revenue increased 12 percent as R&D spending rose 8 percent and net income increased 13 percent.
 
Total revenue for the three months ended March 31 rose to $495.9 million from $443.1 million year over year.
 
Revenue from Sigma’s Research Essentials division increased to $98.8 million from $91.8 million; Research Specialties receipts jumped to $189.3 million from $168.8 million; and Research Biotech revenue increased to $75.2 million from $71.8 million.
 
Sigma-Aldrich CEO, Jai Nagarkatti, said the addition of Epichem in February “provides two-thirds of our annual goal to add 3 percentage points of growth through acquisitions this year.”
 
R&D spending increased to $14.1 million from $13 million year over year.
 
The company said its profit increased to $74.9 million, or $.56 per share, compared with $66.5 million, or $.49 per share, in the year-ago period.
 
Sigma-Aldrich said it had around $173 million in cash and equivalents as of March 31.
 
The company reaffirmed last quarter’s expectation that 2007 revenues should increase roughly 7 percent year over year. Sigma-Aldrich expects sales in Research Specialties to exceed its 6-percent growth goal for the full year, with organic sales growth expected to be around 7 percent.
 
The company is forecasting its Research Biotech division to see growth “toward the lower end” of the 7- to 9-percent range, and holds to its expectation that its SAFC growth should be around 10 percent. Growth in Research Essentials is expected to be around 4 percent.
 

 
Agilent Opens Beijing Facilities
 
Agilent Technologies has opened a dual-duty headquarters in Beijing that will house life sciences research and commercial facilities, the company said last week.
 
Agilent CEO Bill Sullivan called the headquarters an “important investment,” saying China is the company’s second largest and fastest growing market in the world.
 
Max Yang, Agilent’s vice president and general manager of its Greater China operations, said the company’s long-term objective is to become “further rooted in China and help drive the development of local industries.”
 
The Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis Center of Excellence and the Agilent Open Lab and Solution Center are situated at the Beijing Want Jing Science Park, the company said, where they will handle R&D, sales, marketing, technical support, and after-sale functions.
 
The company said the LSCA center will demonstrate Agilent’s bio-analytical-measurement products, and customers will be able to interact with specialists and management.
 
The OLSC, meantime, will focus on testing and consulting for electronic measurement customers.
 

 
Becton Dickinson Posts 11 Percent Revenue Gain, Profits up
Sharply in Q2; Discloses Dispute with bioMerieux
 
Becton Dickinson said this week that its second-quarter revenues rose 11 percent year over year to $1.6 billion, while its profit jumped 57.4 percent.
 
The firm’s BD Biosciences segment, which contains its life science research tools, brought in second-quarter revenues of $259 million, up 13 percent year over year. The BD Diagnostics segment had 11 percent revenue growth to $473 million, and the firm’s BD Medical segment had 10 percent revenue growth to $844 million.
 
BD reported net income of $242.5 million, or $.95 per share, compared with net income of $154.1 million, or $.60 per share, in the second quarter of 2006.
 
BD’s R&D spending dropped 32 percent to $86.7 million year over year.
 
In a separate announcement, BD said that bioMerieux has filed an arbitration proceeding with the ICC International Court of Arbitration in Paris against GeneOhm Sciences Canada, a subsidiary of BD.
 
The French diagnostics firm is seeking the termination of a sublicensing agreement that had granted certain patent rights to GeneOhm related to the detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. BD said it believes there is no basis for the termination and it intends to “vigorously defend its position in the arbitration proceedings.”
 
BD said it also received a letter from bioMerieux invoking a dispute resolution clause of a separate licensing pact between BD and bioMerieux related to BD’s Bactec products. bioMerieux alleges in the letter that BD’s products have been made in non-licensed fields, and it is seeking compensation for such sales.
 
BD said it does not believe it has breached the agreement and will defend its position.
 

 
Affymetrix’s Clinical Services Lab Gets CLIA Clearance
 
Affymetrix’s Clinical Services Lab has been certified by the State of California to begin offering microarray-based molecular diagnostic testing under Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, the firm announced this week.
 
The ACSL, a 10,000 square-foot lab in Sacramento, Calif., will be used for clinical trial and patient testing, the company said. According to Affymetrix, the lab received the clearance on April 9.
 
Affymetrix officials announced in early 2006 that they intended to open the clinical lab in an effort to grow the firm’s microarray-based molecular diagnostics business.
 
The facility's offerings include gene expression monitoring, genotyping, chromosomal copy number analysis, and other molecular diagnostic tests.
 
Affymetrix said that the lab has already signed two agreements with undisclosed customers.
 
CLIA certification ensures that the lab's processes meet standards for accuracy, precision, sensitivity, calibration, and control under federal and Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute regulations. All of the lab's assays have also been validated for clinical applications, the company said.
 

 
Agilent, Gene Logic Collaborate on Integrated Research Offerings
 
Agilent Technologies and Gene Logic intend to improve tools and techniques for systems-based biopharmaceutical research, including clinical profiling and pathway mapping, the companies said this week.
 
Under the collaboration, Agilent will provide microarray workflow products, including its GeneSpring bioinformatics platform, while Gene Logic will contribute its biorepository and other databases, the companies said.
 
The companies said the relationship will also tap their channels into academic and commercial life science sectors.
 
The companies said they are exploring integrating data from microarray platforms into breast cancer research by conducting array-based comparative genomic hybridization, microRNA, gene-expression methods, and SNP-genotyping studies on tissues from Gene Logic’s tissue repository.
 
They said early results from the studies show a good correlation between aCGH and gene expression data, which could potentially be useful in developing a therapy.
 
Gene Logic also said it has become an Agilent Certified Microarray Service Provider. This designation required proficiency analyzing Agilent’s 60-mer oligo microarrays using Agilent's 2100 Bioanalyzer.
 

 
Invitrogen to Screen Third-Party Cell-Culture Technologies, Clarifies Viropro Deal
 
Invitrogen has started a new program to screen technologies from third party companies against its own cell-culture products, the company said this week.
 
Invitrogen also clarified the terms of its recent collaboration with Viropro, which falls under this screening program, saying it would not pay royalties or take commercial interest in any licensing of the technologies.
 
Invitrogen said it will evaluate GIBCO cell-culture media products and platforms offered by PD-Direct Bioprocess Services along with the outside technologies.
 
The program is a “unique approach” for evaluating performance of cell-culture products, Jeff Greenberg, vice president of Invitrogen’s BioProduction business, said in a statement.
 

 
Luminex Licenses CF Markers from Johns Hopkins
 
Luminex has licensed from the Johns Hopkins University genetic markers that it plans to use with its Tag-It cystic fibrosis test kits.
 
Luminex said the tests are available through its Molecular Diagnostics division, which was formerly Tm Bioscience. Luminex acquired and then renamed Tm Bio in March.
 
The non-exclusive agreement enables the company to use the markers in kits sold in the US. The license cover four mutations — 549N, 551D, 553X, and 559T — tested in the kit and two mutations, 553X and 551D, that appear in the screening panel of 23 cystic fibrosis mutations recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Sequenom to Raise $20M from Sale of Shares to Institutional Investors
 
Sequenom said this week that it has received commitments from several institutional investors to purchase $20 million of the firm’s common stock.
 
Sequenom said it will sell 6,666,666 shares at a price of $3 per share to the investors. The sale is expected to close on April 27.

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.