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Stratagene, Third Wave, Applera, Roche, ABI, Agilent, Bio-Rad, Qiagen, Beckman Coulter, Thermo Electron, Invitrogen

Stratagene Posts 27-Percent Increase in Q1 Revenue,
But Receipts Fall 2 Percent Ex-Hycor …

Stratagene this week reported a 27-percent increase in total revenues and increased earnings for the first quarter of 2005, but the company's core receipts fell more than 2 percent if revenue from its Hycor acquisition are excluded.

Revenues amounted to $24.6 million for the quarter, up from $19.4 million during the same period in 2004. Hycor, a subsidiary of Stratagene, boosted revenues by $5.7 million, meaning that without this revenue Stratagene's core receipts for the period ended March 31 fell 2.6 percent to $18.9 million.

Stratagene merged with Hycor Biomedical in mid-2004. Also, Stratagene's quantitative PCR and clinical allergy diagnostic tests led revenue growth, according to a company statement.

Research and development costs increased to $8.5 million, up from $5.9 million during the same period last year.

The company's net earnings were $2.9 million, or $.13 per share, up from $2.1 million, or $.13 per share, during last year's first quarter.

As of March 31, Stratagene had $4.7 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities.


… As It Sues Third Wave Over
Quantitative Nucleic Acid-Detection IP

Stratagene also said this week that it has sued Third Wave Technologies for allegedly infringing patents covering its quantitative nucleic acid-detection technology.

In the suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, Stratagene claims that some of Third Wave's Invader products infringe its patents. The company seeks monetary damages as well as a permanent injunction against further infringement by Third Wave.

Stratagene has four US patents covering the technology, which it uses in its FullVelocity product, a reagent system for quantitative PCR and QRT-PCR.


Applera, Roche Settle Litigation; ABI
Expands Licensing Program for PCR, RT-PCR

Applera and Roche Diagnostics have settled their litigation over PCR technology and have included real-time PCR in their PCR licensing program, the companies said this week.

The firms have settled their litigation and arbitration about contractual relationships that involved rights to and commercialization of PCR and real-time PCR under undisclosed financial terms.

The companies' licensing program will now include patents for real-time PCR "and other important PCR-related technology," according company statements. Applera's ABI group will be the sole licensor of Roche patents covering methods and reagents for PCR and real-time PCR for life science research and other applications.

Applera has also obtained a diagnostics license, with no right to sublicense, of Roche's nucleic acid technology patents.

In addition, Roche and Applera have granted each other licenses related to PCR technology for research and diagnostics. This includes the right for Roche to manufacture real-time PCR instruments for a third party under certain conditions.

ABI did not respond to BioCommerce Week's request for comment.


Agilent to Open Scientific Training Center In Shanghai

Agilent Technologies said this week that it would open a new Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis Training Center in Shanghai.

The center is located next to the firm's R&D and manufacturing center, which opened in 2002. Agilent said that the new facility would serve scientists from the industrial, academic, and government sectors within China and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Agilent said that scientists would receive hands-on instruction in the use of chemical analysis and life science technologies.

The firm also has training centers located in the US and Germany.


Bio-Rad Posts Q1 Revenue, Profit Increase

Bio-Rad Laboratories last week reported a 14-percent increase in revenues and a jump in earnings for the first quarter of 2005.

The firm recorded $299.2 million in revenues for the quarter, up from $262.7 million during the same period a year ago. Bio-Rad's life science segment accounted for $144.1 million of total revenues, an increase of 18.5 percent year-over-year.

Several product lines, including amplification reagents, process chromatography media, and the Bio-Plex protein assay system, contributed to the growth of this segment, while real-time PCR instruments faced competition, and prices for BSE tests "eroded," according to the company.

Research and development costs went up slightly, to $26.8 million, from $24.3 million during last year's first quarter.

Net income totaled $33.5 million, or $1.26 per share, up from $22 million, or $.83 per share, during the first quarter of 2004. This includes a $4 million gain related to the sale of the company's confocal microscopy business.

As of March 31, Bio-Rad had $318 million in cash and cash equivalents and $65.9 million in short-term investments.


Qiagen to Manufacture Two Sample Prep Kits for Beckman

Qiagen will manufacture two DNA purification kits for Beckman Coulter, which will sell them with its nucleic acid preparation platform, Qiagen said this week.

The two customized kits will use Qiagen's Qiaamp technology to purify viral nucleic acids from serum and plasma, and to purify genomic DNA from blood samples.

Beckman will sell the kits for use with its Vidiera NsP nucleic acid sample preparation platform.


Thermo Electron Completes Acquisition of Kendro

Thermo Electron this week completed the previously announced acquisition of Kendro Laboratory Products from Australian firm SPX for $833.5 million in cash, subject to a post-closing balance-sheet adjustment.

Kendro specializes in sample preparation products and services for the life sciences and material sciences industries and had 2004 revenue of roughly $375 million. The 1,600-employee Kendro unit, which is headquartered in Asheville, NC, manufactures a wide line of temperature-control products ranging from freezers to ovens, as well as a variety of centrifugation product and has been a competitor to Thermo in the drug-discovery technology and bioprocessing markets.

The Kendro business is expected be folded into the Bioscience Technologies segment of Thermo's Life and Laboratory Sciences business unit, which focuses on the sample-prep portion of the laboratory workflow market (see BioCommerce Week 1/27/2005).


Invitrogen Unit Sells Vaccine Fill/Finish Facility

Invitrogen unit BioReliance has sold its fill/finish vaccine assets, including a 58,000-square-foot facility in Rockville, Md., to British vaccine manufacturer Acambis.

Acambis will pay BioReliance $3 million up-front and a further $4.5 million in 12 equal installments between 2006 and 2017. None of BioReliance's employees are being transferred to Acambis as part of the deal.

The Scan

Should've Been Spotted Sooner

Scientists tell the Guardian that SARS-CoV-2 testing issues at a UK lab should have been noticed earlier.

For Martian Fuel

Researchers have outlined a plan to produce rocket fuel on Mars that uses a combination of sunlight, carbon dioxide, frozen water, cyanobacteria, and engineered E. coli, according to Gizmodo.

To Boost Rapid Testing

The Washington Post writes that new US programs aim to boost the availability of rapid at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests.

PNAS Papers on Strawberry Evolution, Cell Cycle Regulators, False-Positive Triplex Gene Editing

In PNAS this week: strawberry pan-genome, cell cycle-related roles for MDM2 and MDMX, and more.