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BioArray Briefs: Customer Cluster, Packard Acquisition, Tests for Universal Arrays

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Spotfire Adds to Customer Cluster

 

Analysis toolmaker Spotfire revealed last week that it had signed on over 120 new customers in 2001, including Procter & Gamble, Biogen, Anadarko, AstraZeneca, and Carlsson Research. The company makes Spotfire DecisionSite, a program that allows users to visualize microarray and other genomic data in a variety of ways. Spotfire said its customers include over 350 corporations including all of the major pharmaceutical companies, and 16,000 total users. The company has an arrangement with Celera Genomics in which Celera Discovery System subscribers can access the database from within DecisionSite.

 

PerkinElmer Gains on Packard Acquisition

 

When PerkinElmer reported its 2001 financial results last week, the balance sheet showed a clear gain from the Packard acquisition it completed in November.

The Boston-based company, which has life sciences, optoelectronics, and instruments divisions, reported $361 million in total sales revenues for the fourth quarter, a four percent decrease compared to the same period last year. Of these revenues, however, $124 million came from the life sciences division, a 57 percent year-over-year increase.

For the year, the company’s life sciences revenues increased to $346 million, up 57 percent also from the $221 million in revenue the company reported last year. The total profits were $64 million, compared to $39 million for life sciences last year.

A large chunk of this increase for the quarter and the year came from the acquisition of Packard. Also, the company excluded charges associated with the Packard acquisition, including one-time charges for restructuring, in-process R&D, revaluation of acquired inventory, from these numbers.

“We have higher operating expenses as we integrate Packard,” said Robert Friel, the company’s chief financial officer, in a conference call to discuss the results. “We do have some duplication there and we are in the process of sorting that out.”

Aside from this acquisition, the company said its life sciences revenues grew 13 percent for the quarter, and its profits for the year grew 12 percent.

Nevertheless, PerkinElmer chairman and CEO Gregory Summe said the integration of Packard into PerkinElmer life sciences is already well underway. “We have gone through all of the rationalizations of the field, sales, and service organizations, and we go into the new year with all of the territories laid out.” He said there were somewhere around 300 people in this new hybrid group.

For 2002, the company is forecasting total revenues of $575 to $585 million, an organic growth rate of 12 to 18 percent.

 

TM Bioscience Developing Specific Tests for Universal Arrays

 

Tm bioscience of Toronto has very specific plans for its universal microarrays.

The arrays, which consist of tags that attach to the target sequence and anti-tags attached to a substrate, will be available in March as bead arrays through a collaboration between Tm bioscience and Luminex. These initial universal bead arrays will include 100 linear tag-anti-tag pairs. Tm will receive product royalties on these kits, said Alan Coley, vice president of communications at Tm bioscience.

Additionally, the company is developing two tests for the arrays, one with Phil Wells at the Ottawa Health Research Institute to screen for genetic biomarkers associated with blood coagulation and another with Montreal-based Procrea Biosciences that will screen for genetic markers of endometriosis, Coley said.

“The universal array is like a Windows software platform that can run numerous applications,” said Coley. Tm has developed a number of assays in-house to validate the ease of building multiplexed DNA tests on the universal array.”

The coagulation microarray simultaneously tests for four specific coagulation SNPs that are indicative of an increased risk for the clotting disorder venous thromboembolism. The Tm coagulation test was developed on Tm''''s universal array platform using the Luminex bead-based system. Approximately 10 percent of people of Northern European descent have a genetic profile associated with a 7-fold increased risk of thromboembolism, compared with the general population.

In the endometriosis collaboration, Procrea is exploring the possibility of identifying endometriosis-related genes and combining them with Tm''''s array technology. If successful this could provide a convenient DNA-based screening kit for endometriosis, a disease that affects an estimated 6 million women in North America.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.