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Nathan Wood, Sebastian Meyer-Plath, Scott Moonly, Molecular Devices, Invitrogen, Procter & Gamble, Cellomics, PerkinElmer, 454 Life Sciences, Sequenom

People in the News

Nathan Wood has joined Invitrogen as head of its nucleic acid purification business. He joins the firm from rival Qiagen.


Sebastian Meyer-Plath has been named vice president of the nuclear, biological and chemical detection business of Bruker Daltonics. Myer-Plath also was named a managing director of Bruker Daltonik in Leipzig, Germany. He had previously worked at Bruker from 1993 to 2002, holding several project and product management positions in the NBC detection and life science systems business, before joining a life science start-up called Advalytix.


Scott Moonly has been named vice president, life science investments, for investment firm Brookstone Capital. Moonly previously worked as a consultant with LEK Consulting and covered the biotech and medical device industries as an investment banking analyst with Merrill Lynch.

 

Briefs

Molecular Devices Posts 9-Percent Revenue Growth

Molecular Devices last week reported a 9-percent increase in revenue and has turned a profit for the third quarter of 2005.

Revenues for the quarter ended Sept. 30 totaled $45.2 million, an 8.8-percent increase over last year's revenues of $41.5 million during the same quarter.

"In life sciences, we continued to see strong demand for our SpectraMax M5 bench-top reader," Joseph Keegan, Molecular Devices' president and CEO, said in a statement. "In drug discovery, we saw excellent growth in both our high-throughput electrophysiology and FLIPR product lines."

Keegan added during a conference call that it was the best third-quarter results the firm has ever reported.

R&D spending in the quarter remained flat at $6.4 million, the company said.

Molecular Devices posted a $4.6-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a $1.3-million loss year over year.

As of Sept. 30, Molecular Devices had $12.2 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Molecular Devices said it anticipates revenues of $52 million to $54 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of between 9.4 percent and 13.7 percent. The company also said it anticipates revenues of $181 million to $183 million for the full year of 2005.

For the full year 2006, Molecular Devices said it anticipates revenues of $192 million to $202 million.


Invitrogen Inks Drug-Discovery Pact with Chinese Drug Screening Center, Extends RNAi Pact with Procter & Gamble

Invitrogen will provide its drug-discovery technologies to the National Center for Drug Screening, a Shanghai-based public technology organization that specializes in screening new drugs in China, the company said this week.

The deal calls for Invitrogen to contribute drug-discovery technologies such as GeneBlazer and Polar Screen, and to help the National Center for Drug Screening develop new assays and techniques specific to the collaboration, the company said.

Specific terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Invitrogen also announced this week an extension of its RNAi research service agreement with Procter & Gamble through December 2006. The initial agreement, under which P&G is employing Invitrogen's RNAi technologies in target identification and validation programs, is currently in its fourth year.


Fisher's Cellomics Subsidiary Will Outfit Applied Precision's Cell Analyzer with Software

Cellomics will integrate an image-analysis toolkit with Applied Precision's automated cellular-imaging system, and both companies will sell the tool to the secondary screening, assay development, and academic markets, according to Applied Precision officials.

The exclusive OEM agreement may help Applied Precision gain a bigger foothold in the area of high-content analysis — a market segment it has only recently begun to explore — by equipping its instrument with a proven image-analysis package and providing the company with the marketing muscle of Cellomics' parent company Fisher Biosciences.

The deal was disclosed by Joe Victor, Applied Precision's senior vice president of life sciences, at IBC's Assays and Cellular Targets conference, held in Bellevue, Wash., last week.

The alliance provides Fisher's Cellomics business with what Applied Precision called a more affordable "entry-level" high-content scanner, which may help Cellomics expand the high-content screening market to smaller drug-discovery firms and academia, as well as drum up sales for its higher-end high-content screening instruments.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has yet to be publicly announced, Applied Precision will manufacture its CellWorx cellular-imaging platform for Cellomics, and Cellomics will equip Applied Precision with an instrument-specific image-analysis toolkit based on the software found in Cellomics' ArrayScan and KineticScan HCS readers.

Cellomics will then sell the product to the pharmaceutical markets in North America, Europe, and all areas in Asia outside of Singapore and Taiwan, Victor told BioCommerce Week sister publication Cell-Based Assay News.

In addition, Applied Precision will then become the exclusive distributor of the combined product to academic researchers through its own sales channels in North America, Singapore, and Taiwan.

In both cases, Cellomics' intellectual property covering specific high-content screening methods will be included in the package, Victor said.


PerkinElmer Signs New Credit Facility; S&P Ups Credit Rating

PerkinElmer said this week that it had signed a new $350 million unsecured revolving credit facility with a term of five years.

The new credit facility replaces a $100 million facility and will be used for general corporate purposes, which could include among other things, share repurchases, acquisitions, or alliances.

The credit facility was arranged by Banc of America Securities and Citigroup Global Markets.

Also this week, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its credit rating on PerkinElmer to BBB- from BB+. It also raised its rating on PerkinElmer's subordinated debt to BB from BB-, with a stable outlook. S&P said the upgrade was partially due to sustained improvements in PerkinElmer's operating performance and profitability.


454 Sells Four Sequencers in Q3, Expects Positive Cash Flow for 2005

454 Life Sciences sold and installed four Genome Sequencer 20 Systems in the third quarter, 454's parent company CuraGen said last week, bringing the total of confirmed installations to nine.

In addition, the mid-October transfer of commercial sales of the system to Roche Applied Science "triggered milestone payments that will likely enable 454 to be cash-flow positive for 2005," said Christopher McLeod, president and chief executive officer for 454 Life Sciences, in a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement with Roche, 454 will earn royalties on Roche's product sales and a margin on instruments and reagents supplied to Roche.

454 Life Sciences will continue to offer sequencing services for whole-genome and ultra-deep sequencing for clients without their own instruments, said McLeod.


Sequenom May Launch Gene-Expression Service This Year, Posts Q3 Revenue Decline

After launching its DNA-methylation-analysis service last week, Sequenom will likely launch a gene-expression service within the year, and launch a genotyping service later, company officials told BioCommerce Week sister publication GenomeWeb News last week.

Sequenom is currently taking the first orders for its expression service, so "one could argue that it's being launched now," said Christian Jurinke, the company's director of product development. He spoke with GenomeWeb News during the American Society for Human Genetics meeting held in Salt Lake City last week.

The expression service will likely officially launch before the end of the year, with a genotyping service launch to follow soon after, said Jurinke. He declined to provide a more specific timeline.

The two new services have the potential to complement the company's new DNA-methylation service, but they will not be explicitly linked in any way in the near future, said Jurinke.

Sequenom launched its methylation detection service last Wednesday. The company provided preview versions of its upcoming DNA-methylation-detection software product for the MassArray platform to four investigators, Jurinke said.

Separately, Sequenom this week reported that its third-quarter revenue fell 11.5 percent as net losses narrowed 29 percent. Total receipts for the three months ended Sept. 30 fell to $4.6 million from $5.2 million in the same quarter last year.

Sequenom spent $2.5 million on R&D in the quarter, compared to $3.5 million in the same quarter last year.

Net losses in the third quarter fell to $6 million from $8.3 million year over year, the company said.

"We are continuing to implement cost-cutting measures announced last month as part of our new business strategy," Harry Stylli, Sequenom's president and CEO, said in a statement.

As of Sept. 30, the company held cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments, and restricted cash totaling $19.7 million.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.