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Sagging Economy Balanced by Surprisingly Strong Academic Market for Bruker Machines

NEW YORK, Oct. 9-Due to unexpectedly strong sales of MALDI TOF and MALDI TOF-TOF machines to academic researchers and medical schools, Bruker Daltonics president and CEO Frank Laukien said today at the UBS Warburg global life sciences conference that he expects respectable revenue growth for the company despite the faltering economy.


Roughly 60 percent of the company's customer base is with academic, medical and nonprofit research institutes. Those buyers, said Laukien, have shown a startling interest in the company's high-end MALDI-TOF and TOF/TOF equipment. Recently, Bruker has been selling "not fifty systems at a time anymore but rather one or two or three," he said.


For MALDI TOF-TOF, "sales are up significantly, exceeding our expectations," he said.


Bruker has sold more than 45 of the machines worldwide in 2002 so far, including 10 to Roche. About half of the sales, though, are going to academic or medical school customers, said Laukien. "Do they need this throughput? No--but the ease and the sensitivity generate great sequence and translational [data]."


Even though the overall life sciences tool market has slowed, especially in North America, "when something is compelling enough, clearly the budgets are there," Laukien said. These equipment sales mean that Bruker clocked roughly 23 percent revenue growth for the last nine months, and projects 18 to 22 percent growth in revenues next year.


Laukien also said that the company had booked an order from an "Asian research hospital" for its "Complete Proteineer" product, a comprehensive analysis system that sells for more than $1 million.


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