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Variagenics Posts Miniscule Revenue, Widened Loss in Q4

NEW YORK, Feb. 26 - Variagenics on Tuesday said that a significant drop in fourth-quarter total revenue conspired with increased R&D costs to send net loss spiraling skyward.

Revenue for the period ended Dec. 31 was $392,000, down from $1.2 million on year, and was attributable exclusively to research collaborations. Variagenics' sales in the current fourth quarter echoed last year's, as there were no sales of the company's NuCleave genotyping system.


R&D spending in the quarter reached $5.5 million compared with $2.6 million one year ago, the company said. Variagenics also reported non-cash equity compensation--the cost of stock options issued to employees--of $3.0 million, a significant jump from the $822,000 reported one year ago.


As a result, net loss for the quarter shot up to $9.4 million, or $.40 per share, compared with $2.6 million, or $.11 per share, one year ago.


Variagenics said that it had $222.7 million in cash, cash equivalents, working capital, and total cash and marketable securities as of Dec. 31, compared with $278.2 million it had one year ago.


"The major increase [in R&D was] in our clinical program ... in terms of cardiovascular and CNS proof-of-principal studies," Rick Shea, Variagenics' CFO, told GenomeWeb. "We're [also] beginning to gear up for some clinical studies for colorectal studies. Of course we're continuing to work on SNP and haplotype marker discovery, and also working to refine our genotyping haplotyping technologies."


As GenomeWeb reported in December, Variagenics had launched a pharmacogenomics-based R&D collaboration with the Korean biotechnology company GeneMatrix to co-develop new molecular diagnostics to predict drug response in the treatment of colon and gastric cancers.


Shea also said that the company expects to sign a pharmacogenomics-based research collaboration with at least one major pharmaceutical company.

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