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Richard Elgen, Zach Pitluk, GE Healthcare, Millipore, Serologicals, Harvard, Stanford, Dharmacon, Bio-Rad, bioMerieux, ART, Takara Bio, InVivoScribe, Caliper, Xenogen, Affymetrix, Luminex


Richard Elgen has joined PerkinElmer as vice president and general manager of discovery and research reagents for the firm's Life and Analytical Sciences unit. Elgen joins PerkinElmer from DiscoveRx, where he served as chief scientific officer and executive vice president for research and development.

He holds a PhD in molecular pharmacology from Trent University in Nottingham, UK.

Zach Pitluk joined Gene Network Sciences as vice president of business development.

Pitluk moved to Gene Network Sciences from Definiens, where he served as the North America life sciences business manager. Previously, he spent five years at Cellomics, a Fisher Biosciences business unit. Prior to Cellomics, he held sales positions at Clontech Labs, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and ISCO.

He received his PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University.

BioCommerce Briefs

GE Healthcare's Q2 Revenues Rise 10 Percent, Profits up 18 Percent

GE Healthcare last week said that second-quarter revenues climbed 10 percent as earnings increased 18 percent.

For the quarter ended June 30, GE Healthcare had $4.1 billion in revenues, up from $3.8 billion during the same quarter in 2005.

GE Healthcare's earnings for the quarter increased to $795 million from $672 million in the second quarter of 2005.

Orders for biosciences products were up 8 percent for the quarter, while orders for medical diagnostic products were up 13 percent and life sciences products grew 1 percent. Service revenue for the segment grew 13 percent for the quarter year over year.

"The business really is performing with both new product introductions and distribution and services," said Keith Sherin, CFO of parent General Electric, during a conference call.

He noted, however, that the sales in China were weaker than expected. "One area that we're watching is China," said Sherin. "They have had a slowing of equipment additions.

"The good news here is it's a small part of our overall business and it will resume growth, but right now in the second quarter that was a little slow [and] will probably continue for the next several months," he said.

He added that the company expects GE Healthcare to produce "strong top-line growth" in the third quarter. "We expect segment profit to be up 15 to 20 percent," said Sherin.

GE's total revenues for the quarter were $39.9 billion, up from $36.5 billion during the same period last year. The firm posted net earnings of $4.85 billion for the quarter, a 4 percent gain over net income of $4.65 billion in the comparable period last year. GE's earnings per share grew 15 percent to $.47 from $.41, and matched analysts' expectations.

As of June 30, GE reported $56.1 billion in cash and marketable securities.

Millipore Completes Acquisition of Serologicals; Downgraded by Moody's

Millipore has completed the acquisition of Serologicals following approval by Serologicals' shareholders last week, Millipore said this week.

Millipore announced in late April its intention to acquire Serologicals for $1.4 billion (see BioCommerce Week 4/26/2006). The shareholders will receive $31.55 per share in cash.

About 82 percent of shares outstanding voted in favor of the deal, Atlanta-based Serologicals said.

Following the acquisition, Moody's Investor Service downgraded Millipore's credit rating, saying that the purchase of Serologicals had created a disproportionate increase in leverage compared with the combined cash flow of the combined company. Moody's lowered the rating on the firm's $100 million senior unsecured notes due 2007 to "Ba2" from "Baa3" and its $300 million shelf registration to "Ba2" from "Baa3."

Harvard, Stanford Join Dharmacon's Global RNAi Initiative

The Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative last week announced that Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School, and the VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands have joined its ranks.

The Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative, created in October 2004, is designed to use Dharmacon's complete siRNA library to target genes throughout the human genome in functional-genomics research. Dharmacon is a unit of BCW Index firm Fisher Scientific.

The founding members of the RNAi initiative are: The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital and Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital, both with the University of Toronto; Cancer Research UK-funded scientists at the London Research Institute and the Institute of Cancer Research; the German Cancer Research Center; UNMC Eppley Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center; the Netherlands Cancer Institute; the Scottish Centre for Genomic Technology and Informatics based at the University of Edinburgh Medical School; the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Yale University.

Bio-Rad, bioMerieux Settle Licensing Disputes

Bio-Rad Laboratories said this week that it had reached a settlement with bioMerieux that resolves various licensing disputes between the companies.

The disputes were originally between bioMerieux and Pasteur Sanofi Diagnostics, which Bio-Rad acquired in 1999. As part of the settlement, bioMerieux has granted Bio-Rad a license under its Epstein-Barr virus patent rights.

Bio-Rad said it expects a one-time impact on its diagnostics revenue in the second quarter of $10 million to $12 million.

GE Healthcare Unit to Distribute ART's Molecular Imaging Agents in Japan

GE Healthcare Bio-Sciences KK, the Japanese life sciences unit of GE Healthcare, will exclusively distribute ART's Fenestra molecular imaging contrast agents in Japan.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

GE has been developing molecular imaging instruments for several years and views the products as part of its plans for the molecular diagnostics market.

Takara Bio Licenses Gene Mutation Patent to InVivoScribe

Takara Bio has licensed to InVivoScribe Technologies its patent for detecting the mutations of FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 genes, Takara Bio said last week.

Under the agreement, InVivoScribe will receive an exclusive license to use the patent worldwide, except in Japan. The company will be allowed to develop, manufacture, and sell a reagent for detecting FLT3 gene mutations. It can also sublicense the patent to others.

InVivoScribe Technologies will make an upfront payment and royalties on sales and sublicenses to Takara Bio.

Caliper Cuts '06 Outlook as SEC Review Delays Xenogen Acquisition

Caliper Life Sciences lowered its previously announced financial outlook for the year due to an SEC review of the company's plan to buy Xenogen, which delayed the acquisition, the company said last week.

Caliper revised its 2006 revenue forecast from between $120 million and $128 million to between $110 million and $118 million. A Caliper spokeswoman said that the US Securities and Exchange Commission selected the filing for review, which set the acquisition back by three months.

Caliper announced in February that it would buy Xenogen for $80 million in stock and expected the transaction to close in the second quarter.

The delay required the company to adjust its projected revenues, which originally included Xenogen's second-quarter revenues, the spokeswoman said.

The companies said they plan to hold a stockholder meeting on Aug. 9 to approve the acquisition.

Affymetrix, Caliper, Luminex Added Back to Nasdaq Biotech Index

The Nasdaq exchange said on Friday that it has reinstated several genomics companies that it dropped from the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index in May.

Affymetrix, Caliper, and Luminex are among five firms added to the index following an interim review. Nasdaq said in a statement that the "sole purpose" of the review was "to include some companies that were removed from the Index during the May semi-annual re-ranking due to sector classification assigned by the Industry Classification Benchmark."

In May, Accelrys, Affymetrix, Caliper Life Sciences, and Luminex were among nine firms dropped from the index due to a change in their ICB classification.

"As a result of ICB's recent sector evaluation, five securities will be added back into the Index as their sector classification has been changed to biotechnology or pharmaceutical," Nasdaq said on Friday. "In addition to qualifying for this sector, companies being added back met all other continued eligibility criteria."

The change will become effective on July 24.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.