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Paradigm Genetics Posts Strong Revenue Growth, Narrowed Loss in Q4

NEW YORK, March 4 - Paradigm Genetics on Monday reported a strong jump in fourth-quarter revenue and a narrowed loss as sales of its Gene Function technology outpaced costs to develop its new metabolomics platform.


Total revenue for the period ended Dec. 31 was $6.7 million, a 49 percent increase over $4.5 million reported one year ago. The company said that "higher throughput" of its Gene Function Factory and the delivery of assays to Bayer helped drive the increase.


Paradigm reported a 14 percent pickup in total operating expenses in the quarter, which reached $10.3 million compared with $9.1 million year over year. The firm said that development of its MetaVantage metabolomics technology together with the cost to increase throughput of its GeneFunction product helped fuel the increase.


Despite this, Paradigm was able to post a narrowed loss in the quarter, which came to $3.7 million, or $.12 per share, from $4.2 million, or $.16 per share, in the same period one year ago. The loss beat by one penny the forecast by Thomson Financial/First Call.


"Even though we are expanding into healthcare, we are not abandoning our agricultural roots, where the revenues remain strong and will continue to drive the revenues of the company for the near term," John E. Hamer, acting president and CEO, said in a statement. "To better capitalize on existing market opportunities, we are optimizing our assets to shift from a platform technology approach to a more fully integrated and flexible research entity focused on delivering products and new revenues in human health and agriculture."


Last week, Paradigm abruptly sacked President and CEO John Ryals, who in an interview with GenomeWeb said he may "take legal action" against Paradigm's board.


"It's a bad situation," said Ryals. "I don't agree with what took place. I may have avenues to pursue. There could be legal proceedings going on."


"I might take some legal actions," he added.


Ryals, who said his dismissal "came as a surprise," would not comment on events that led to the board's decision, made public on Feb. 26, or the nature of any lawsuit. However, he did characterize the move as "a plain sort of power play from a single board member. That's my impression."


GenomeWeb originally deduced that the "power play" was initiated by Steven Burrill, the company's chairman, though neither Ryals nor Paradigm would comment, and Burrill, the founder of the private biotech-based merchant bank that bears his name, would not return telephone calls seeking comment.


Dow Jones later confirmed that the struggle evolved through professional conflicts between the two men.

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