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Luminex, Beckman Coulter, Sigma-Aldrich, Molecular Devices, Ipsogen, Sequenom, NHGRI, Lumera, Third Wave Technologies, Geospiza

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Luminex Revenues Rise In Second Quarter

Luminex, the Austin, Texas-based manufacturer of the xMAP bioassay platform, reported a 70 percent second-quarter gain in revenues year-over-year. The firm reported revenues of $9.2 million compared with $5.6 million in the second quarter of 2003.

However, its Q2 revenues were virtually flat with its first-quarter revenues of $9.3 million. In response, the firm’s shares dropped nine percent the day after it released its results (which came after the close of the market).

The second-quarter revenues consisted of $5.3 million in sales of 218 Luminex systems, $2.1 million from the sale of consumables, $705,000 in royalties, and $1 million in other revenues.

The firm’s net loss declined to $1.1 million, or $.04 per share, in the quarter compared with a net loss of $1.9 million, or $.06 per share, in the second quarter of 2003. Its gross margins increased to 37 percent from 34 percent in the comparable quarter a year ago.

During the quarter, Luminex appointed Abbott veteran Patrick Balthrop as CEO and president, filling the two top spots at Luminex that were being overseen by Thomas Erickson. Balthrop came to Luminex from Fisher Scientific International, where he was president of the Fisher Healthcare division since 2002. He has also been head of worldwide commercial diagnostics operations at Abbott Diagnostics.

Balthrop was appointed 20 months after Luminex's CEO Mark Chandler left the company to head a spin-off based on the company's Rules-Based Medicine project. Luminex expects Balthrop to also become a company director.


Beckman Coulter Posts Rise In Q2 Sales

Beckman Coulter this week reported a roughly eight percent rise in second-quarter sales, driven in part by growth in the company’s clinical diagnostics and biomedical research divisions.

Beckman Coulter’s sales for the period were $597.3 million, up from $551.8 million in the second quarter 2003. Sales in the company’s clinical diagnostics division climbed 10 percent on strong sales of the UniCel Dxl 800 immunoassay system, while sales in its biomedical division were up four percent.

Fullerton, Calif.-based Beckman Coulter posted net earnings of $58.3 million in the second quarter, an almost 12 percent increase over the $52.2 million recorded in same period last year.

Looking ahead, the company said that it expects sales in the third quarter to rise between eight and 11 percent, and total year sales to be up nine to 10 percent.


Sigma-Aldrich’s Revenues, Earnings Up In Q2

Sigma-Aldrich has reported increased revenues and earnings for the second quarter. Its revenues were $348.6 million, up from $327 million during the same quarter last year.

Research and development costs stayed flat at $10.2 million, compared to $10.5 million during the same period in 2003.

Sigma’s net income for the quarter was $59.6 million, or $.85 per share, up from $48.1 million, or $.67 per share, during the second quarter last year.

As of June 30, the St. Louis, Mo.-based firm had $138.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.


Molecular Devices Posts Gains In Q2 Revenues, Net Income

Molecular Devices has reported increased revenues and earnings for the second quarter. The firm’s revenues totaled $32.2 million, up from $28.5 million for the same quarter last year.

R&D expenses stayed flat at $4.7 million, compared to $4.8 million during the same period a year ago.

The company’s net income for the quarter was $2.5 million, or $.17 per share, up from $1.8 million, or $.12 per share, during the same period in 2003.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based firm recently purchased microarray scanner manufacturer Axon Instruments.

As of June 30, Molecular Devices had $54.2 million in cash and cash equivalents.


Ipsogen To Offer AffyMetrix GeneChip Systems To Customers

Ipsogen will provide microarray-based services to industrial and academic customers based on Affymetrix’s technology, the Marseille, France-based company announced this past week.

As an “authorized service provider” for Affymetrix technology, Ipsogen will add Affymetrix’s GeneChip system to its research services. The company’s services focus on the molecular diagnosis of cancer and the discovery and development of anti-cancer drugs.


Sequenom, NHGRI Expand Diabetes Collaboration

Sequenom and the National Human Genome Research Institute said that they will study allele-specific gene expression of genes that confer susceptibility to type 2 diabetes, building upon a previous research collaboration between the partners.

Under the three-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, researchers will use Sequenom’s MassArray Quantitate Gene Expression in conducting the study.

Sequenom and the NHGRI had previously collaborated on analyzing DNA for single nucleotide polymorphisms that correlate to type 2 diabetes. According to a release issued by San Diego-based Sequenom, the work builds upon research conducted by the NHGRI for the Finland-US Investigation of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (FUSION) project.

In April, Sequenom announced that its MassArray system had been used in the identification of a novel association between the HNF4A gene and type 2 diabetes. The results of that study, entitled “Genetic Variation Near the Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor-4A Gene Predicts Susceptibility to Type 2 Diabetes,” were published in the April 2004 issue of Diabetes. It was conducted by a team from the US, UK, and Finland led by NHGRI director Francis Collins. The study was part of the FUSION project.


Lumera Raises $41.7 million In Initial Public Offering

Bothell, Wash.-based Lumera raised $41.7 million in its initial public offering of six million shares priced at $6.95 per share.

The firm, which makes wireless antennas, disposable biochips for DNA identification, and electro-optic devices, was spun-off from parent company Microvision. The company had 2003 revenues of $1.7 million and a net loss of $8 million, or $1.31 per share.


Third Wave Q2 Revenues Rise, Plans Stock Repurchase

Third Wave Technologies on Tuesday reported an increase in its second-quarter revenues, accompanied by narrowed losses and a rise in R&D spending. Additionally, the company announced that its board of directors has approved a stock repurchase plan for up to five percent of the company’s 40.4 million outstanding shares.

At the stock’s current value, the buyback plan could be worth as much as $6.7 million.

Third Wave reported total revenues of $12.6 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2004 — a 40 percent increase over total revenues of $8.8 million for the same period of 2003. The company also recorded deferred revenue of $5.1 million related to a product shipment that is “subject to acceptance” by a “key” customer.

The company posted a net loss of $106,000, or $.00 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $2.2 million, or $.05 per diluted share, for the year-ago period.

Third Wave, which makes tools for DNA and RNA analysis, spent $3.4 million on R&D during the quarter, up from $2.9 million in R&D spending for the second quarter of 2003.

The company’s cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments totaled $69.0 million as of June 30, an increase of $9.1 million from the prior quarter. The increase in cash includes the deferred payment of $5.1 million, Third Wave said.

Third Wave raised its product revenue guidance for 2004 from $39 million to $42 million.


Geospiza Gets NIH Grant For DNA Sequencing Tool

Geospiza, a privately held firm based in Seattle, has received a Small Business Innovative Research Grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop an integrated optical mapping and DNA sequencing tool.

The six-month, $100,000 grant was awarded to Geospiza and its collaborator on the project, OpGen, which will apply its optical mapping, single-molecule DNA analysis technology. The firms will evaluate the feasibility of incorporating the output of optical mapping as input to a DNA sequence assembly program.

Geospiza is currently updating the Phrap sequence assembler through a $1.1 million SBIR grant.

Separately, Geospiza said that it had launched the Geospiza Finch Genotyping Data Manager, an add-on component to the Finch Sequencing Center software. The data manager will support importation and distribution of genotyping data from all of the widely installed capillary instruments from Applied Biosystems.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.