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Thermo Electron, Fisher Scientific, Invitrogen, Stratagene, Enzo, Sigma-Aldrich, Genetix, PerkinElmer, Beckman Coulter, Combimatrix, Protedyne, Roche

Thermo Electron Q2 Revenues Rise, But Profits
Fall 20 Percent; Acquires Mass Spec Firm
Thermo Electron this week reported that its total second-quarter revenue increased 9 percent, but its profits tumbled 20 percent.
Total receipts for the three months ended July 1 increased to $713 million from $654 million during the same period one year ago.
Its Life and Laboratory Sciences segment led the drive with an 11 percent increase to $539 million from $487 million in the year-ago period. Revenues from the firm’s Measurement and Control segment rose 5 percent to $174 million from $166 million in Q2 2005.
Net income for the quarter sank 20 percent to $47.9 million, or $.29 per share, from $60.2 million, or $.37 per share, in the year-ago quarter. The second quarter profit this year was affected by $.03 in stock compensation costs, while the comparable quarter last year included gains of $27.6 million, or $.11 per share, due to the sale of interests in Newport and Thoratec.
Research and development costs for the quarter dipped 3 percent to $40.6 million from $39.4 million year over year.
As of July 1, Thermo Electron had $189.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.
Thermo is in the process of merging with Fisher Scientific in a $10.6-billion deal announced in May (see BioCommerce Week 5/10/2006). Both firms said this week that the merger process is on schedule for completion during the fourth quarter.
“The proxy statement is being distributed for the shareholder vote to be held on August 30,” said Marijn Dekkers, president and CEO of Thermo, during a conference call this week. “We have initiated the anti-trust review processes in all key jurisdictions, and both companies have been hard at work for the past few months planning the integration.”
He said that roughly 60 integration teams have been formed, each one focusing on a key area to achieve synergies.
Thermo also announced that it has acquired Manchester, UK-based mass-spec shop GV Instruments for approximately $21 million.
GV manufactures isotope-ratio mass spectrometers, and the acquisition will allow Thermo to offer additional features in its mass spec product line, including noble gas isotope mass spectrometry, the company said.
“By adding the complementary range of products from GV Instruments, Thermo can now offer the most sophisticated IRMS solutions to a variety of significant fields of earth science research such as geochemistry, geochronology, and climate research, just to name a few,” Dekkers said in a statement.
The purchase price is subject to a post-closing adjustment, according to Thermo.

Fisher Sales, Net Earnings Up In Q2
Fisher Scientific said this week that second-quarter sales increased 9.1 percent to $1.47 billion from $1.34 billion year over year while profit increased approximately 20 percent.
Fisher said organic revenue growth was 4.1 percent. Of the overall revenue, receipts from scientific products and services increased 9.3 percent to $1.13 billion from $1.03 billion one year ago, though 4 percent of this growth was organic.
Fisher said that organic growth in scientific products and services was driven by high single-digit growth from pharma customers, low double-digit growth from biotech customers, and high single-digit growth from academic customers.
Healthcare product and services sales totaled $356 million, an increase of 9.3 percent over the prior-year period, though organic growth was approximately 5.3 percent. Fisher said driving this growth were strong sales to reference labs and new product introductions, in particular rapid diagnostic tests and clinical chemistry products.
Fisher said second-quarter profits increased 20.3 percent to $122 million, or $.98 per basic share, from $101.4 million, or $.84 per basic share, in the same quarter in 2005.
Fisher does not break out R&D spending.
As of June 30, the company had approximately $153 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand.

Jury Awards Invitrogen $7.8M in Damages in Case Against Stratagene
A jury in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas has awarded Invitrogen nearly $8 million in damages in a patent infringement case against Stratagene.
Specifically, the jury determined that Invitrogen's 4,981,797 patent involving a process for developing competent cell products is valid and that Stratagene infringed that patent by making and selling its competent E. coli cell products.
The jury awarded Invitrogen a 15-percent royalty rate on sales between 1997 and 2004 for a total of $7.8 million in damages, Stratagene said. Invitrogen had sought $32 million in damages based on a lost profits argument, according to a Stratagene statement.
The jury also found Stratagene “willfully infringed the patent between the years 1997 and 2001” but determined that “Invitrogen was not entitled to lost profits because Stratagene has had a non-infringing manufacturing process for competent cells," Stratagene said.
The decision comes 10 months after the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned an earlier ruling by the US District Court for the District of Western Texas, which had ruled that Stratagene’s products did not infringe Invitrogen’s IP. The case was then sent back to US District Court, and the jury made its decision earlier this week. by the US District Court for the District of Western Texas, which had ruled that Stratagene’s products did not infringe Invitrogen’s IP. The case was then sent back to US District Court, and the jury made its decision earlier this week.
The judge presiding over the case will now determine the appropriateness of the damages and the potential for enhanced damages, but timing of a final judgment has not yet been determined.
Stratagene has the right to appeal the verdict.

Enzo Views Court Ruling as Favorable, But Defendants Disagree
A US District Court earlier this month settled the interpretations of eight patents at the heart of a 4-year-old lawsuit pitting Enzo Biochem against defendants GE Healthcare, Affymetrix, PerkinElmer, Sigma Aldrich, Orchid Biosciences, Molecular Probes, and Roche.
Since it first filed the suits in 2002 and 2003, Enzo has alleged that the defendants, by selling its reagent kits improperly, are infringing 15 claims of eight different patents. The parties participated in a Markman hearing to define the interpretations of those claims in July 2005.
In the order, handed down July 10, Judge John Sprizzo of the US District Court in the Southern District of New York ruled that Enzo could indeed proceed with its litigation against the seven biotech firms. However, Sprizzo rejected many of Enzo’s interpretations of the eight patents, causing both Enzo and one of its opponents to claim a victory.
Enzo issued a statement last week arguing that “the ruling supports Enzo’s position that hundreds of defendants’ products infringe certain Enzo patents” and “opens the door for Enzo to not only pursue its patent infringement claims, but, as importantly, to also aggressively pursue its claims that defendants breached their contractual obligations to Enzo.”  
A person familiar with Enzo’s position who wished to remain anonymous because he didn’t want to comment on ongoing litigation told BioCommerce Week sister publication BioArray News this week that, although the court constructed many of the claims in a manner that could be seen as favorable to Enzo’s opponents, Enzo sees the ruling as positive to itself. The source said this is particularly the case because the ruling left mostly intact a key patent in the suit, US Patent No. 4,994,373, entitled “Method and structures employing chemically-labelled polynucleotide probes.”
Enzo officials could not be reached for comment. But a couple of defendants in the case disagreed with Enzo’s assessment of the ruling.
“Among its allegations, Enzo contends that Roche's AmpliChip CYP450 Test infringes Enzo's US Patent No. 4,994,373. However, Judge Sprizzo's order rejected Enzo's interpretations of both the testing format and the ‘soluble signal’ claimed by this patent, and instead agreed with interpretations by Roche Diagnostics and its co-parties,” Roche said in a statement released soon after Enzo‘s announcement.
“The Court adopted virtually all of the interpretations proposed by Roche Diagnostics and its co-parties relating to seven Enzo patents covered by the order,” the firm added.
PerkinElmer also took issue with Enzo’s statement. In an e-mail to BioCommerce Week, the company said, “We are pleased with the court’s decision, which favored us on every major issue.  We note that Enzo has already released a press release which, while not technically incorrect, seemingly portrays the decision in favor of Enzo. However, the decision actually rejected many of Enzo’s claim constructions.”

Sigma-Aldrich’s Q2 Profits Rise 12 Percent on Flat Revenue Growth
Sigma Aldrich this week reported flat second-quarter revenue growth as net income grew 12 percent.
Total revenues for the three months ended June 30 increased to $449 million from $444 million year over year.
Net income grew 12 percent to $70.3 million from $62.5 million year over year, the company said
Research and development expenses increased 2 percent to $13.4 million from $13.1 in the prior-year period.
Sigma Aldrich had $165.9 in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30.

Invitrogen to Use Genetix’s ClonePixFL in PD-Direct Offering
Invitrogen will use Genetix's ClonePixFL technology in its process-development services, the company said last week.
The technology, which automatically images and selects mammalian cell colonies based upon a set of parameters, will be offered through Invitrogen's PD-Direct offering.
Invitrogen also said it will develop applications to integrate ClonePixFL with its Revolution technology, which is a cell engineering technology that accelerates the natural process of genetic evolution.
Financial details were not disclosed.

PerkinElmer to Collaborate with Two Universities on Biomarker Discovery
PerkinElmer this week said that it will help Johns Hopkins University and the University of Birmingham, UK, establish tools and technologies to discover diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers in undisclosed indications.
PerkinElmer said it will use its BioExpression platform, a carrier protein-based biomarker enrichment technology that is used to find low-abundance disease-related biomarkers.
The company said these collaborations “will become a major driver in the rapidly emerging field of proteomics, developing new technologies for clinical research.”
Financial details of the deals were not disclosed.

Beckman Coulter, PerkinElmer Declare Quarterly Dividends
The boards of directors for both Beckman Coulter and PerkinElmer have declared quarterly dividends for their shareholders.
Beckman last week said it would pay a quarterly dividend of $.15 per share on Sept. 7 to all stockholders of record as of Aug. 18. The company said that the payout represents its 69th consecutive quarterly dividend.
PerkinElmer announced this week that it pay a quarterly dividend of $.07 on Nov. 10 to all shareholders of record as of Oct. 20.

FDA Wants to Speak with Combimatrix About Genetic Array Test
CombiMatrix said this week that the US Food and Drug Administration's Office of In Vitro Diagnostic Device Evaluation and Safety has asked to speak with it about its Constitutional Genetic Array Test.
CombiMatrix said the FDA wants to "discuss" the company's "plans to market [the] CGAT in September." CombiMatrix said that it plans to meet with the FDA in the “near future.”
Last month CombiMatrix Molecular Diagnostics said it will launch its first molecular diagnostic service in the US in August. The service will use the CGAT, which “can genetically identify more than 50 common genetic disorders,” including developmental disorders. The service is already sold in Europe through Paris-based Array Genomics.
CMDX said it's in the "final phases" of internal human and clinical validation. In March, CMDX and Array Genomics said they will co-develop and co-market a series of comparative genomic hybridization microarrays for diagnosing genetic anomalies associated with mental retardation, a developmental disorder.
Matt Watson, CEO of CMDX, said in June that the firm is "actively developing further tests based on both our oligo and BAC capabilities that augment our microarray portfolio and over the next three quarters, we have plans to launch three to five additional products into the molecular diagnostics market."

Protedyne Integrates Its Robotics with Roche’s LightCycler
Lab-automation company Protedyne has integrated its benchtop robotic system with Roche Diagnostics’ LightCycler 480 real-time PCR system, Protedyne said this week.
Combining the robotics system, named Radius, with LightCycler creates an automated high-throughput product that also enables researchers to reproduce PCR assays, the company said.

Financial details were not disclosed.

The Scan

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

Although roughly three-quarters of surveyed individuals in a Genetics in Medicine study reported awareness of genetic testing, use of such tests was lower and varied with income, ancestry, and disease history.

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.