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Stratagene, Harvard Bio, Bruker, Agilent, GE Healthcare, University of Hawaii Medical School, NIH, National Centers for Biomedical Computing, LBNL, UC Berkeley

Stratagene Posts Q4 Revenues Up 20 Percent

Stratagene reported that its revenues for the fourth quarter grew 20 percent to $22.8 million, compared with $18.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2003. The company said that $5.6 million was related to Stratagene's acquisition of Hycor in June 2004.

The La Jolla, Calif.-based company spent approximately $2.7 million on research and development in the fourth quarter of 2004, a slight increase from the approximately $2.3 million it spent on R&D in Q4 2003.

Stratagene also said net income surged to $1.9 million, or $.08 per diluted share, from $237,000, or $.02 per diluted share in the year-ago period.

As of Dec. 31, 2004, Strategene had cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaling $5.7 million, and total assets of $80.2 million.

Harvard Bio Reports 2-Percent Increase In Q4 Revenues, Earnings Shortfall

Harvard Bioscience this week reported a slight increase in revenues but a cut in earnings for the fourth quarter of 2004.

The company booked $24.7 million in revenues for the quarter, up 2 percent from $24.2 million during the same quarter in 2003.

R&D expenses amounted to $1.9 million for the quarter, up from $1.6 million for the same period a year ago.

HBIO's net income for the quarter was $1.1 million, or $.04 per share, down from $1.8 million, or $.06 per share, during the year-ago quarter. However, for the full year 2004, earnings fell by nearly half to $2.3 million, or $.08 per share, from $4.3 million, or $.14 per share, year over year. The primary cause for this decline was a shortfall in revenues at HBIO's Genomic Solutions subsidiary, CEO Chane Graziano said in a statement.

"However, we believe that we have turned the corner," he said. "In looking forward to 2005, we remain encouraged by the improved performance at Genomic Solutions for the fourth quarter, the strong performance of our recent acquisitions and continued strengthening in the life sciences market."

As of Dec. 31, 2004, HBIO had $13.9 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Bruker and Agilent Renegotiate Alliance

Buker and Agilent Technologies have renegotiated a 6-year-old alliance between the two companies for developing and selling mass spectrometers. In an SEC filing last week, Bruker said the term of the contract, which was initiated on April 28, 1999, with Hewlett-Packard and then transferred to spinout Agilent, was extended and pricing provisions were adjusted.

The company declined to provide financial details but said that it intended to issue a press release to provide more information.

GE Healthcare Notifies State of California Of Plans to Lay Off 120 Sunnyvale Staffers

GE Healthcare will lay off as many as 120 workers next week from its Sunnyvale, Calif., facility, according to the California Employment Development Department.

According to a listing of Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification act notices provided by CEDD, GE Healthcare is to lay off 120 of its Sunnyvale employees as of March 14. Companies are required to notify state authorities in advance of large layoffs.

The Sunnyvale facility was the home of Molecular Dynamics, which Amersham acquired in 1998, and produced the MegaBace DNA-sequencing technology and other technologies. Production of that instrument will move to Umea, Sweden, as a two-year-long internal restructuring by Amersham continues under GE, which acquired the company in a $10 billion transaction in April.

A US-based spokesperson for GE Healthcare was not immediately able to confirm or comment regarding the potential lay-offs. It is unclear how many total GE Healthcare employees are based at the Sunnyvale facility. The company previously said the facility employed 100 workers — prior to the restructuring (see BCW 1/27/2005).

University of Hawaii Medical School Facing $6 Million Budget Shortfall

The new John A. Burns School of Medicine facility in Honolulu is expected to begin classes in April, but remains about $6.1 million short in operating funds for the fiscal year starting July 1, according to a recent report in the Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper. University officials are mulling a tuition increase to cover costs for the facility, which includes a 216,000-square-foot research facility that is expected to open in August. The research facility has faculty members that are bringing with them some $53 million in grants, which are expected to generate more funding, but the education portion of the school requires additional operation funds. Additionally, Ed Cadman, the dean of the school (see BCW 1/20/2005) who hosted a conference in January to mark the opening of the new research facility (see BCW 1/27/2005), took a leave of absence for health reasons at the end of January, according to newspaper reports. Sam Shomaker, vice dean of the medical school, assumed the role of acting dean.

NIH to Fund Collaborations With National Centers for Biomedical Computing

The National Institutes of Health last week issued a funding program entitled "Collaborations with National Centers for Biomedical Computing."

The program, using the R01 funding mechanism, intends to fund projects from individual investigators or small groups to collaborate with the recently formed National Centers for Biomedical Computing. The intention is to engage researchers across the US in building an excellent biomedical computing environment, using the computational tools and biological and behavioral application drivers of the funded NCBCs as a foundation, according to the NIH.

The size and duration of each award will vary. The total amount awarded and the number of awards will depend upon the quality, duration, and costs of the applications received.

The first round of applications are due May 17.

LBNL, UC Berkeley to Take Over Former Bayer Lab for Integrated Biology Research

Multidisciplinary biology research efforts at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, will have a new home beginning next month, when around 200 scientists and staff are expected to begin moving into a 72,000-square-foot facility previously leased to Bayer.

The lab space, located at 717 Potter Street in Berkeley, Calif., was renovated for biotech research in 1997, and includes large general laboratories, adjacent cold and warm rooms, viral suites, tissue culture rooms, lab benches and hoods, and other equipment and furniture.

UC's Board of Regents approved the lease proposal in November, and the Department of Energy, which runs LBNL, approved it in February. Negotiations between the two organizations and the property's owner, Wareham Development, concluded last week.

The Potter St center will house LBNL's synthetic biology department, as well as its programs in biological and environmental research, including Genome: GTL projects, low-dose radiation, DNA repair, and functional genomics research.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.