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Karl Hecker, Tony Galindo, Agilent, Thermo Electron, BD, GeneOhm, Proteomics Research, Beckman, Expression Pathology, Ciphergen


Karl Hecker has joined PerkinElmer as director of research and development for its Boston-based center of excellence, the firm said this week. Hecker joins PerkinElmer from Invitrogen.

He will be responsible for leading all product R&D efforts for molecular medicine within the company's life and analytical sciences unit. Hecker holds a PhD in biochemistry from Florida State University.

Tony Galindo joined SciGene as director of product manufacturing, SciGene said last week.

Galindo comes to SciGene after nearly 20 years at Agilent, formerly Hewlett-Packard, where he held various senior manufacturing management positions within the Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis Group.

BioCommerce Briefs

Agilent to Restate 2004 Financials; Net Income Increased $20M

Agilent this week said that it would restate its 2004 financial results due to an accounting error. The restatement decreases the firm's provision for income taxes for fiscal 2004 and the quarter ended Oct. 31, 2004, by $20 million, and increases the firm's net income by $20 million, or $.04 per diluted share.

The company said that it miscalculated or understated its estimate of US jurisdictional loss during the preparation of its financial statements for fiscal 2004. Agilent said the error was identified through its internal control over financing during 2005, and it has included the restatement in its annual report and form 10-K for fiscal 2005, which was filed this week.

Before the restatement, Agilent had reported fiscal fourth-quarter 2004 revenue of $1.8 billion, a 9-percent gain over revenue of $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2003. Agilent's fourth-quarter net income increased to $74 million, or $.15 per share, from $13 million, or $.03 per share, year over year.

For its fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2004, Agilent had reported revenue of $7.2 billion, compared to $6.1 billion in fiscal 2003. Net income increased to $349 million, or $.72 per share, compared to a loss of $2 billion, or $4.35 per share, in fiscal 2003.

Thermo Opens Customer Support Desk in China

Thermo Electron announced last week its first local customer support help desk in China for its informatics offerings.

The help desk is part of the company's 4,000-square-meter customer service and laboratory demonstration center in Shanghai and will provide local support to customers in the Asia-Pacific region on LIMS and CDS solutions.

BD Points to Market Size in Justifying GeneOhm Purchase

When Becton Dickinson announced last week that it had acquired GeneOhm Sciences for $230 million plus up to $25 million in additional incentives, many attendees of the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference were surprised that BD was willing to pay that much for a little-known firm with 2005 revenues of only $5 million.

In a breakout session following the firm's presentation at the conference, held in San Francisco last week, BD Biosciences President Vince Forlenza cited the market potential of GeneOhm's tests and the firm's strong intellectual property, which BD would have had to license if it were to develop competing tests. Forlenza also noted that GeneOhm had poured some $80 million into R&D for its initial tests.

He also said BD paid fair value for GeneOhm, noting a market size of $500 million to $600 million for GeneOhm's tests. BD was involved in a competitive bidding process against other suitors, Forlenza said, though it wasn't an auction.

Privately held GeneOhm develops molecular diagnostics designed to detect bacteria known to cause healthcare-associated infections. Specifically, GeneOhm markets FDA-cleared IDI-MRSA and IDI-Strep B diagnostic tests — and according to Forlenza the MRSA test is the only one of its kind cleared by the FDA. MRSA, also known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is responsible for HAIs, and Group B Strep poses a risk to pregnant women and their children during the latter stages of pregnancy.

GeneOhm is also developing a sepsis test, which presents a large market opportunity, according to Forlenza. He did note, however, that diagnostics giant and rival Roche is planning to launch its own sepsis molecular diagnostic product in Europe later this year.

BD has spent the past year tightening its focus in the research space on its cell-analysis and molecular-diagnostics business. Forlenza said the firm would continue to look for growth opportunities in those areas, as well as in ADME-Tox.

Outside of those fields, he said the firm has no plans to get more involved in the molecular biology tools space, following the sale of its Clontech division to Takara Bio in July 2005.

Proteomics Research Services Pens Mass Spec Deals with Beckman, Expression Pathology

Proteomics Research Services will provide Beckman Coulter's ProteomeLab PF 2D customers access to its mass spec-based protein ID and characterization services, the company said this week.

Separately, PRS will provide customers of Expression Pathology's Liquid Tissue MS Protein Prep with its protein ID services.

Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Ciphergen Gets Nasdaq Deficiency Notice

Ciphergen Biosystems has received a deficiency notification from the Nasdaq National Market indicating that the company failed to comply with the continued listing requirements of the exchange, the company said late last week.

According Ciphergen, the Nasdaq said the company did not file a listing notification and obtain shareholder approval for its July 22, 2005, stock sale to Quest Diagnostics. A part of an R&D alliance between the two companies called for Ciphergen to sell Quest around 6.2 million shares of stock along with a warrant to purchase 2.2 million additional shares. The combined sale would give Quest a 17-percent stake in Ciphergen.

Ciphergen said the Nasdaq indicated that it believes the Quest deal "constituted a change of control which required shareholder approval because the number of shares purchased by Quest, together with the number of shares potentially issuable upon exercise of the warrant, could exceed 20 percent of the total number of outstanding shares of common stock" of Ciphergen.

Ciphergen said that the arrangement provides that Quest will not own more than 19.9 percent of Ciphergen.

Ciphergen said it has until Jan. 17 to present its opinion on the matter to Nasdaq.

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.