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Lester Crawford, Waters, Applied Biosystems, PerkinElmer, Molecular Devices, Thermo Electron, Sigma-Aldrich, Becton Dickinson


The US Congress has confirmed Lester Crawford as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. He was previously acting commissioner.

Responding to the confirmation, the Biotechnology Industry Organization said that under Crawford, the FDA "must be prepared for the innovations emerging from genomics, proteomics, nanotechnology and other biotechnology applications. We're entering an era of personalized medicine and a revolution with the potential to further tame disabling and deadly diseases."


BioCommerce Briefs

Waters Q2 Sales Increase 9 Percent; Rebound Sparks Rise in Shares

Waters this week reported that its second-quarter sales increased around 9 percent, and 8 percent organically, year over year to $284.6 million from $260.5 million.

Although the firm also reported a 10-percent slide in net profits to $54.1 million, or $.46 per share, last year's second-quarter results included a one-time gain of $17.1 million related to a settlement of patent litigation with PerkinElmer.

Water's stock closed up more than 9 percent, or $3.80, at $44.50 in heavy trading Tuesday because the profit beat analysts' consensus estimate of $.43. Investors also reacted positively to the news that pharmaceutical spending and European sales seemed to be picking up.

Earlier this year, Waters announced that declining sales in Europe and a decrease in spending by pharma companies on big-ticket research instruments had hurt its first-quarter sales (see BioCommerce Week 4/28/2005). Investors have been waiting to see if these trends would continue or if Waters' sales would rebound.

"Our business in Europe and overall sales to pharmaceutical accounts improved during the second quarter," said Douglas Berthiaume, chairman, president, and CEO of Waters, in a statement. "We are optimistic that this positive sales momentum will continue into the second half of the year. We also believe that despite a less favorable foreign currency environment, the strength of our product portfolio in combination with improving market demand will allow us to deliver profitable sales growth in 2005," he added.

Late last week, Merrill Lynch analyst Darryl Pardi upgraded Waters' stock from 'neutral' to 'buy', saying that "recent concerns about Waters' earnings prospects for 2005 are not warranted." He added, "During Q2, most instrument suppliers we spoke with indicated that pharma spending had improved from Q1."

Waters said that its R&D spending in the period increased around 5 percent to $16.5 million from $15.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

Waters said it had around $615 million in cash and equivalents as of July 2.

Applied Biosystems' Q4 Revenues Rise 4 Percent, Though PCR, Mass Spec Slide

Applied Biosystems this week reported increased revenues and earnings for its fourth quarter of fiscal year 2005, which ended June 30.

Revenues for the quarter totaled $478.5 million, up 4 percent over the prior year's revenues of $460.5 million. Broken down by ABI's five product categories, DNA sequencing revenues were $143 million, up 2 percent over last year's quarter; real-time PCR/applied genomics revenues were $140 million, up 16 percent; mass spectrometry revenues were $119 million, down 1 percent; core PCR and DNA synthesis revenues were $46 million, down 7 percent; and revenues from other product lines were $31 million, up 1 percent.

Research and development costs totaled $48.3 million, down from $51.3 million during the year-ago quarter. This decline was due primarily to savings from the integration of the MALDI-TOF product line into the ABI/MDS Sciex Instruments joint venture.

ABI's net income for the fourth fiscal quarter was $71.6 million, or $.35 per share, up from $51.1 million, or $.25 per share, for the year-ago quarter. The current quarter's income includes $21.2 million in tax benefits and reduced court settlement costs.

As of June 30, ABI had $756 million in cash resources.

ABI said that it anticipates fiscal 2006 annual revenue growth in the low single digits. It also said that it expects revenue growth for its real-time PCR/applied genomics and mass spec product categories, but revenue declines for its DNA sequencing and core PCR and DNA synthesis businesses.

In addition to reporting its earnings, the company said that its board of directors has authorized the repurchase of up to 10 percent of the outstanding shares of Applera-ABI common stock.

PerkinElmer Q2 Revenues Inch Up 3 Percent as Income Rises 39 Percent

PerkinElmer this week reported slightly increased revenues and a boost in earnings for the second quarter of 2005.

Revenues for the quarter totaled $425.5 million, representing a 3-percent increase over last year's revenues of $412.1. PE's life and analytical sciences unit had $270.8 million in revenues, up 5 percent from revenues of $257.9 million during the same period last year. This growth was primarily driven by PE's genetic screening, service, and environmental businesses.

Research and development expenses were $22.9 million, up slightly from $21.5 million during the same quarter last year.

The company's net income for the quarter was $28.9 million, or $.22 per share, up from last year's $20.8 million, or $.16 per share, during the same period. This quarter's earnings included both a $14.3 million benefit from provisions for income taxes and a loss of $5.2 million from discontinued operations.

As of July 3, PerkinElmer had $158.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Molecular Devices Revenues Up 38 Percent in Q2

Molecular Devices this week reported second-quarter revenue of $44.5 million, a 38-percent increase over revenue for the same period last year.

The firm's net income also rose sharply to $3.7 million, a 48-percent increase year over year, and its earnings per share rose to $.22 from $.17.

Joseph Keegan, president and CEO of Molecular Devices, said in a statement, "We are encouraged by our second-quarter results, as we saw organic growth in both our life sciences and drug discovery product families." He added that the firm expects those markets "will remain stable in the near-term."

Molecular Devices forecast third-quarter revenue of $44 million to $46 million and earnings per share of $.22 to $.24. For the full year, it is predicting revenue of $181 million to $185 million and earnings per share of $.92 to $.96.

Thermo Electron Revenues Up 24 Percent in Q2

Thermo Electron this week reported that its second-quarter revenues increased 24 percent, largely due to the effect of acquisitions.

Total revenues for the quarter were $653.6 million compared with revenue of $525.3 million for the second quarter last year. Fifteen percent of this revenue growth was due to acquisitions, and another 2 percent was attributable to currency translation, Thermo said.

The company's life and laboratory sciences unit recorded $487 million in revenue, up a third over $370 million during the year-ago period. The firm's research and development costs were $39.4 million, up from $32.6 million during the same quarter last year.

Thermo's net income fell 44 percent to $60.2 million, or $.37 per share, from $91.1 million, or $.54 per share, during the year-ago period. But last year's second quarter included a gain of $.24 per share from discontinued operations.

The firm is predicting earnings per share of $1.49 to $1.54 for the year, an increase of 19 percent to 23 percent over last year's EPS of $1.25.

As of July 2, Thermo had $159.7 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $11.1 million in short-term available-for-sale investments.

Sigma-Aldrich's Revenues Increase 27.4 Percent in Q2

Sigma-Aldrich said this week that its revenues increased 27.4 percent to $444 million in the second quarter, boosted by strong sales in its fine chemicals business.

The firm noted that the 94.5-percent revenue growth in its fine chemicals group was largely due to the acquisition of JRH earlier this year. The company's scientific research business reported a 10.4-percent increase in revenue year over year, with a 3.3-percent currency benefit, while its biotechnology group reported revenue growth of 16.1 percent for the quarter, with a currency benefit of 2.8 percent.

In the biotechnology business, the firm said there was steady growth in sales to pharmaceutical customers worldwide and improved growth in sales to both academic accounts in Europe and other healthcare-related customers.

Sigma-Aldrich's R&D spending increased to $13.1 million from $10.2 million in the second quarter last year.

The company reported a 4.9 percent increase in net income to $62.5 million, while its earnings per share increased from $.85 to $.91.

As of June 30, Sigma-Aldrich had cash and cash equivalents of $130 million.

Becton Dickinson's Q2 Revenues Rise 11 Percent

Becton Dickinson last week reported a jump in revenues and income for the second quarter of 2005.

Revenues for the quarter were $1.38 billion, up 11 percent from $1.24 billion during the same period last year. BD Biosciences contributed $200 million to this, an 8-percent increase over the year-ago period. Research instrument and reagent growth contributed primarily to this growth, as well as discovery labware products. BD Biosciences' results do not include Clontech, which has been classified as a "discontinued operation." On July 1, BD said it would sell Clontech to Takara Bio of Japan (see BioCommerce Week 7/7/2005).

Research and development costs increased to $67 million, from $58.5 million during the year-ago period.

BD's net income increased to $189.7 million, or $.73 per share, up almost 75 percent from $109.4 million, or $.41 per share, during last year's second quarter. Last year's results included a $100 million charge related to a litigation settlement with an undisclosed party in July 2004. BD said this charge reduced its prior-year net income by $63 million and EPS by $.24.

BD did not state its assets in its earnings report.

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.