SAN FRANCISCO — Although Waters officials do not believe that big pharma's spending slump will recover in the first quarter of 2006, they are optimistic about a recovery later in the year.

Speaking Monday at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, held here this week, Waters President and CEO Doug Berthiaume said, "We think we've seen a bottoming out of the difficulties with large pharma." However, he said he does not believe large pharma "will open up the checkbook" in the first quarter.

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