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Thermo Fisher, Affymetrix, Beckman Coulter, Sigma-Aldrich, Illumina, Lipomics, Agilent , MorphoSys Unit, Bruker BioSciences, Waters, PGx, Molecular Dx, Eksigent

Thermo Fisher’s Q4 Revenue Benefits from Merger
 
Thermo Fisher Scientific last week reported that its fourth-quarter revenues increased 126 percent as R&D spending rose 36 percent and profit declined by more than half on merger-related charges.
 
Total receipts for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006, increased to $1.67 billion from $741 million year over year. On a pro forma basis, Thermo Fisher’s revenues rose 11 percent to $2.35 billion for the quarter from $2.12 billion in the comparable period a year ago.
 
Thermo said revenue from its Analytical Technologies segment increased 57 percent to $849 million, while receipts from the Lab Products and Services segment increased 330 percent to $861 million.
 
R&D spending increased to $52.1 million from $38.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2005.
 
The company said profit declined to $25.3 million, or $.08 per share, from $56.4 million, or $34 per share, in the year-ago period. The current quarter's profit includes a $125.3 million charge related to the Thermo-Fisher merger.
 
Thermo Fisher Scientific was created in the fourth quarter when Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific completed their $10.6 billion merger.
 
For full-year 2006, Thermo Fisher posted revenue of $3.8 billion, a 44 percent increase over revenue of $2.6 billion in 2005. This year’s results include $849 million in revenue from Fisher.
 
The firm posted net income of $168.9 million, or $.84 per share, for fiscal 2006, compared with a profit of $223.2 million, or $1.36 per share, in 2005.
 
Thermo said it had around $667.4 million in cash and equivalents and $23.8 million in short-term investments as of Dec. 31, 2006.
 
Marijn Dekkers, president and CEO of Thermo Fisher, said during the fourth-quarter conference call last week that the firm expects 2007 revenues of between $9.4 billion and $9.5 billion. It also expects earnings per share of between $2.35 and $2.45.
 

 
Affymetrix’s Q4 Revenues Fall 6.5 Percent, Profits Tumble 72 Percent
 
Affymetrix last week said that fourth-quarter revenues decreased 6.5 percent as R&D spending remained flat and profit plummeted 72 percent.
 
Total receipts for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006, decreased to $104.2 million from $111.4 million year over year.
 
Product and product-related revenue decreased 9.5 percent to $95 million; royalties and "other" revenue increased 115 percent to $6.6 million; and receipts from Perlegen Sciences slid 5.5 percent to $2.6 million.
 
R&D spending was flat at $19.6 million.
 
The company said profit declined to $8.7 million, or $.13 per share, from $30.6 million, or $.43 per share, in the year-ago period.
For full-year 2006, Affymetrix’s revenue dropped 14 percent to $260.8 million from $303 million in 2005. The firm posted a net loss of $13.7 million, or $.20 per share, compared with a profit of $65.8 million, or $.96 per share, last year.
 
Affymetrix’s SG&A costs climbed sharply in 2006 to $145.1 million from $122 million in 2005. 2006 results also include restructuring charges of $13.5 million.
 
Affymetrix said it had around $119 million in cash and equivalents and $118 million in short-term investments as of Dec. 31.
 

 
Beckman Coulter’s Q4 Revenues, Profits Rise
 
Beckman Coulter last week said that its fourth-quarter revenues increased 8.6 percent while its profit jumped 250 percent.
 
Total receipts for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006, increased to $712 million from $655.5 million year over year.
 
Product-related revenue increased 8.1 percent to $104 million while service-related revenue was up 8.7 percent to $608 million.
 
R&D spending decreased slightly to $57.6 million from $59.2 million in the previous fourth quarter.
 
The company said profit increased to $62.3 million, or $.97 per share, from $17.8 million, or $.28 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2005.
 
The company attributed the increase to smaller operating expenses. Specifically, in the fourth quarter in 2005 the company paid $32.9 million more in restructuring costs, had a $10.7 million “asset impairment” charge, and spent $11.4 million more in selling and administrative costs.
 
For full-year 2006, Beckman reported revenue of $2.5 billion, up 3.5 percent from $2.4 billion. The firm’s profit rose 24.1 percent to $186.9 million, or $2.92 per share, from $150.6 million, or $2.32 per share, in 2005.
 
Beckman said it had around $75.2 million in cash and equivalents as of Dec. 31, 2006.
 
The company said it expects 2007 revenue to grow between 7 percent and 9 percent over 2006.
 

 
Sigma-Aldrich Posts Q4 Revenue, Profit Gains
 
Sigma-Aldrich this week said that its fourth-quarter revenue rose 13 percent and its net income widened 25 percent year over year.
 
Total revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006, rose to $464.5 million from $410.5 million year over year.
 
The jump in revenue was fueled by “robust” sales in all of the company’s major units, CEO Jai Nagarkatti said, adding that the better-than-predicted growth gives the company “confidence that our strategic initiatives are gaining momentum.”
 
Revenue from Sigma’s Research Essentials division increased to $88 million from $81.3 million; Research Specialties receipts jumped to $172.6 million from $152.6 million; and Research Biotech revenue increased to $70.6 million from $64.8 million.
 
R&D spending increased to $13.3 million from $12.2 million year over year.
 
The company said its profit increased to $71.6 million, or $.53 per share, from $57.3 million, or $.42 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2005.
 
For full-year 2006, Sigma reported revenue of $1.8 billion, up from revenue of $1.7 billion in 2005. The firm’s net income rose to $276.8 million, or $2.05 per share, from $258.3 million, or $1.88 per share, in 2005.
 
Its R&D spending increased to $52.9 million for the year from $49.8 million.
 
Sigma said it had around $173.8 million in cash and equivalents as of Dec. 31, 2006.
 
The company said it expects 2007 revenues to increase roughly 7 percent year over year. Broken down, growth in Research Biotech may slip somewhat from the company’s earlier predictions from around 10 percent to between 7 and 9 percent, according to the firm.
 
Sigma said organic growth in its other units should meet or exceed the goals of 4 percent for Research Essentials, 6 percent for Research Specialties, and 10 percent for its SAFC segment.
 
The company expects “modest” growth from its recent acquisitions, with Epichem expected to make the largest contribution by adding 2 percent to revenues. 
 

 
Illumina to Sell $350M in Convertible Notes; Will Use $202M to Repurchase Shares
 
Illumina plans to sell $350 million in convertible senior notes to help pay for corporate expenses, the company said this week.
 
The convertible senior notes will pay interest semiannually at a rate of 0.625 percent per year and are due in 2014. Illumina also granted the initial purchasers a 30-day option to purchase up to $50 million of additional notes to cover overallotments.
 
The offering is scheduled to close on Feb. 16, 2007.
 
Illumina estimates that the net proceeds from the offering will be around $341 million after deducting fees and expenses. The company said it expects to use around $202 million of the proceeds to purchase shares of its common stock in privately negotiated transactions.
 
Around $41 million of the proceeds will be used to fund convertible note hedge transactions and warrant transactions.
 
The company intends to use the balance of the net proceeds for other general corporate purposes, “which may include acquisitions and additional purchases of our common stock,” Illumina said in a statement.
 

 
Lipomics to Use Agilent’s Bioanalyzer in Developing Dx Assays
 
Lipomics Technologies will use certain Agilent Technologies products under a research and diagnostic assay-development agreement, Lipomics said this week.
 
Lipomics said it plans to develop biomarker-based assays focused on metabolic diseases caused by problems with lipid regulation.
 
Terms of the deal call for Agilent to contribute its 2100 Bioanalyzer and other products, including liquid and gas chromatographers, microarrays, and software as they are required, Lipomics said.
 
Lipomics said it measures more than 1,500 metabolites to generate profiles of lipid metabolism throughout the body.
 
Michael McNulty, general manager of Agilent’s diagnostics, life sciences, and chemical analysis business, said “both companies see significant synergies in combining” Lipomics’ experience with lipids and disease with Agilent’s “capabilities to separate, detect and analyze molecules.”
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
MorphoSys Unit to Use Thermo Fisher Dyes to Develop Reagents
 
Thermo Fisher Scientific this week said that synthetic antibody developer AbD will use its DyLight dyes as part of a collaborative agreement to develop a series of fluorescent reagents.
 
Under the agreement, AbD, a subsidiary of MorphoSys, will develop and sell the resulting products through its catalog, Thermo said.
 
Thermo said its DyLight products are water soluble and provide high fluorescent intensity in various applications.
 
AbD has a catalog of more than 10,000 research antibodies, and it develops monoclonal antibodies using its parent company’s HuCal technology.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 

 
Bruker Raises $16.9M in Public Offering
 
Bruker BioSciences this week said it has raised $16.9 million in a public offering of 11.9 million shares of common stock. The company sold 2.5 million shares on its own and 9.4 million were sold by four stockholders at a price of $7.10 a share.
 
The selling shareholders, all part of the Laukien family, which holds a majority interest in Bruker, received roughly $63.2 million in net proceeds from the offering.
 
Bruker plans to use the entire proceeds from the offering for corporate purposes, including repaying debt and for potential acquisitions.
 
Bruker said 1.6 million shares of this offering were sold after the underwriters exercised an over-allotment option.
 
Bear, Stearns & Co. and UBS Investment Bank served as joint bookrunning managers for the offering.
 

 
Waters in Mass Spec Marketing Deal with Spark Holland
 
Waters said this week that it has signed a co-marketing pact with Dutch firm Spark Holland to sell integrated systems that combine Waters’ MassLynx Mass Spectrometers and Spark Holland’s Symbiosis On-line SPE System.
 
The products will be integrated under Waters’ MassLynx Mass Spec data acquisition, processing, and reporting software. Waters said the alliance would enable high-volume labs to automate sample processing, analysis, and data reduction faster.
 
Financial terms of the alliance were not disclosed.
 

 
PGx, Molecular Dx Makers to Petition FDA Over IVDMIA Plans
 
A newly formed group comprising genomic, proteomic, and molecular diagnostic companies and investors said last week that they plan to ask the US Food and Drug Administration to consider altering its plan to regulate certain diagnostic products.
 
The Coalition for 21st Century Medicine said it is focused on the FDA’s intent to regulate products the agency has termed in vitro diagnostic multivariate index assays, or IVDMIAs. The agency outlined IVDMIAs and their regulatory framework in a draft guidance last fall. The agency is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the document today.
 
The group said “the outcome of this discussion could profoundly impact the future of the diagnostics industry and the future of personalized medicine.”
 
It also said that if the guidance is implemented as drafted, “vital medical tests may become unavailable, innovation and improvements could be impeded, the cost of research and development could rise, and insurance coverage for laboratory tests could erode or disappear.”
 
The coalition includes Genomic Health, Fisher Healthcare, Nanogen, Bio-Rad, Ciphergen, Tm Bioscience, Combimatrix, Sequenom, Genetic Alliance and other biotech and medical research and equipment companies. 
 
"Labs have been a significant source of innovation for decades. Laboratory-developed tests, including tests and services that would be considered IVDMIAs under the draft guidance, are an essential part of public health and are the future of personalized medicine,” said Tom Tsakeris, president of devices and diagnostics consulting group and former director of the FDA's Division of Clinical Laboratory Devices. “To preserve this future, FDA should go through formal rulemaking procedures and carefully consider the alternatives.”
 
Last fall, the FDA said IVDMIAs use mathematical formulas to interpret gene and protein data to guide medical decision-making. The FDA said such tests must be cleared by the agency; ordinarily they would be overseen by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments regulations.
 
Regulations can have “unintended consequences,” the group said, and can hamper development and innovation of new products.
 
Paul Radensky, a coalition adviser, said in the statement that the coalition prefers a “formal FDA notice and comment” process for drafting rules and “urge[s] the FDA to pursue a process in which doctors, patients, and innovators can add their experience and voice to this important proceeding.”
 

 
Eksigent Signs on European Distributor for LC Products
 
Eksigent this week said that German company Axel Semrau will distribute its liquid chromatographers in parts of Europe.
 
Axel Semrau will market Eksigent’s Nano LC and Express LC HPLC product lines in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Benelux nations, Eksigent said.
 
Axel Semrau markets LC/MS and GC/MS screening products for drug development, proteomics, and pharmacokinetics.
 
Eksigent makes microscale pumping and microfluidic systems for use in proteomics and drug research.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

The Scan

Response Too Slow, Cautious

A new report criticizes the global response to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nature News reports.

Pushed a Bit Later

Novavax has pushed back its timeline for filing for authorization for its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, according to Bloomberg.

AMA Announces Anti-Racism Effort

The Associated Press reports that the American Medical Association has released a plan to address systemic racism in healthcare.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on miRMaster 2.0, MutationTaster2021, LipidSuite

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: tool to examine small non-coding RNAs, approach to predict ramifications of DNA variants, and more.