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Biacore, Agilent, Illumina, Nanogen, DiaGenic, Alpha Innotech, Baylor


Biacore Opens Chinese Office to Target $1.6B Life Science Tools Market

Biacore International has opened its own operation in China that will conduct sales, marketing, and applications support and services, the company said last week.

The six-person operation will be based in Shanghai and headed by Peter Lee, former regional sales manager for GE Healthcare in Southern China. In the outlying areas of the country Biacore will be supported by a network of local dealers and distributors, the company said. The organization will target customers in the life science research, pharmaceutical and biotechnology and food sectors, it added.

Biacore estimated that the market for life science instrumentation in China was estimated to be worth $1.6 billion in 2005.

The Chinese investment could be seen as an effort to reenergize Biacore's activities in Asia. The company has acknowledged that its sales have been declining in the Asian market lately.

For example, in its first quarter earnings statement Biacore reported that sales declined by 61-percent decline in the Asia-Pacific market during this first three months of this year (see BAN 5/9/2006).

Agilent's Bio-Analytical Group Posts 8-Percent Revenue Growth; Sees Strong Demand for Genomics, Proteomics

Agilent Technologies this week reported 8-percent quarterly revenue growth for its Bio-Analytical Measurement segment amid an overall revenue increase of 12 percent.

For the company's second fiscal quarter ended April 30, orders in the BioAnalytical segment rose 4 percent to $401 million from $385 million in the same period of 2005.

Life sciences orders were up 4 percent, "with demand from traditional pharmaceutical customers down in the US, up modestly in Europe and up double digits in Asia compared to one year ago," the company said in a statement.

Demand for proteomics and genomics products was up more than 20 percent from last year, the company said.

Revenues for the Bio-Analytical segment increased 8 percent to $372 million from $344 million in the second quarter of 2005.

Agilent's total orders increased 21 percent to $1.59 billion from $1.32 billion, while total revenues rose 12 percent to $1.43 billion from $1.28 billion in the prior-year period.

The company's total R&D spending rose 4 percent to $197 million from $189 million in the comparable period of 2005.

Agilent's net income increased 21 percent to $115 million from $95 million.

The company held $2.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of April 30.

Illumina to Offer 3.5M Shares

Illumina has filed a statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to publicly offer 3.5 million shares of its common stock.

In addition, the underwriters of the offering will be granted the right to purchase an additional 525,000 shares of common stock.

Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch are acting as joint bookrunning and co-lead managers of the offering, while Cowen and Company and Robert W. Baird are acting as co-managers of the offering, according to the filing.

Nanogen Stands to Pocket $25M in Private Stock Placement

Nanogen last week said that it has received a commitment for up to $25 million in common stock equity financing from Azimuth Opportunity.

According to the agreement, over the next 18 months, Nanogen may sell registered shares of its common stock, at its discretion, to Azimuth Opportunity at a small discount from market price, the company said.

DiaGenic Announces Progress in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's Work

DiaGenic, an Oslo, Norway-based life sciences company, said last week that it has identified a specific gene-expression signature for Parkinson's Disease while working with partner Applied Biosystems.

The company also said it had developed screening methods for separating early-stage Alzheimer's patients from Parkison's patients using a blood-based gene expression assay.

The Parkinson's study is part of a larger follow-on study validating DiaGenic's Alzheimer's gene expression assay on ABI's array-based Expression Analysis System. DiaGenic added that it plans to discuss the results of the Alzheimer's study at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders in Madrid next month.

Alpha Innotech Posts 18 Percent Jump in Q1 Revenues, Cuts Net Loss

Alpha Innotech this month reported a jump in first quarter revenues while reducing its net loss by more than half.

Revenues for the three months ended March 31 rose 18 percent to $3 million from $2.5 million in the same period in 2005.

The company spent $327,000 on R&D in the first quarter, down from $397,000 it spent one year ago.

The company also cut its net loss by 54 percent to $415,000 in the first quarter, a reduction from the $904,000 loss reported in the year-ago period.

As of March 31, Alpha Innotech had $238,000 in cash and cash equivalents.

Baylor to Use Lumera's ProteomicProcessor for Immunology Research

Lumera said this week that Baylor Research Institute has agreed to purchase a beta version of its ProteomicProcessor Biosensor instrument.

Jacques Banchereau's immunology research lab at the institute will use the system to measure serum protein levels, Lumera said.

Banchereau said in a statement that the instrument will enable his team to "look at many serum protein levels at the same time without having to label the proteins first."

Lumera said that it plans to place five beta units with "highly respected, world-renowned research organizations," and that the Baylor agreement marks the third such placement.

The company announced similar partnerships with the Medical University of South Carolina and Harvard Medical School earlier this year (see BAN 2/7/2006, BAN 1/10/2006).

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.