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PerkinElmer, Spectral Genomics, Jurilab, Nanogen, Iconix Pharmaceuticals, Affy, CombiMatrix, INBIO, Prisma, ABI

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PerkinElmer Acquires Spectral Genomics to Grow Genetic Screening Business

PerkinElmer this week said it has acquired Spectral Genomics for an undisclosed sum.

Privately held Spectral Genomics develops array comparative genome hybridization products and analysis software that enable researchers to identify chromosomal abnormalities related to cancer and pre- and post-natal genetic disorders.

Robert Friel, president of PerkinElmer's Life and Analytical Sciences, said Spectral Genomics' technologies are "highly complementary to our current molecular medicine and genetic screening offerings."

Terms and other details of the deal were not disclosed.


EU Regulators Approve Jurilab, Nanogen's Drug Metabolism Chip as IVD

European regulators have granted CE Mark approval to Jurilab and Nanogen's DrugMet drug-metabolizing enzyme microarray, the companies said this week.

The firms can now sell the product in the European Union for clinical use as an in vitro diagnostic.

Launched in 2004 as a research-use product, DrugMet is designed to detect variation in genes including CYP2D6, CYP2C9, and CYP2C19, as well as duplication and deletion of the CYP2D6 gene.

In July, Nanogen paid €1.25 million ($1.5 million) for a 25-percent stake in Jurilab.


Iconix Pharmaceuticals to Release DrugMatrix with Affy Data in Q3

Iconix Pharmaceuticals will launch its upgraded DrugMatrix toxicogenomics database, which for the very first time includes data from Affymetrix, in the third quarter, according to a company official.

The company earlier signaled that it would be adding Affy data to its database, but did not disclose a release date (see BAN 3/7/2006).

Alan Engelberg, the firm's vice president of marketing, told BioArray News last week that up until now, Iconix has only included data generated using GE Healthcare's CodeLink bioarray platform. The new data was generated using Affymetrix's RG-230 2.0 Array, which interrogates more than 30,000 transcripts and variants from the rat genome, including more than 28,000 rat genes.

In the next DrugMatrix release, Iconix will be releasing data from rat liver and also from rat hepatocytes treated in vitro, Engelberg said.

He said that demand for Affy data "is based on two things — the 230 2.0 chip is a rat whole genome chip and contains more genes that the previous platforms we've run on and Affy is the most popular platform and our customers are most often running their own arrays on it."

According to Engelberg, the current version of DrugMatrix on the Codelink platform contains large amounts of data from kidney and heart and other tissues as well. Iconix is currently considering releasing Affy data on other tissues in the release of DrugMatrix following the next one, but has not yet made a decision, he said.


CombiMatrix Forms European Sales Arm with INBIO;
Taps Prisma to Market, Sell Arrays in Taiwan, China

CombiMatrix and INBIO have created a business unit in Germany to market and sell CombiMatrix's CustomArray products in Europe, the companies said last week.

The unit, CombiMatrix Europe, is based in Freiburg and will initially serve Germany, the UK, Switzerland, and Austria.

"CombiMatrix's goal is to aggressively expand its marketing and sales through partnerships and distribution deals," Amit Kumar, president and CEO of CombiMatrix, said in a statement.

The company currently has distribution deals with INBIO in other parts of the world, and this deal expands that alliance.

Separately, CombiMatrix said last week that Prisma Biotech will promote and sell its products in Taiwan, China, and "various" other countries.

The Acacia unit also said that Prisma "has the ability to synthesize content onto CombiMatrix CustomArrays and to sell those arrays to end customers."

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

CombiMatrix is currently establishing manufacturing and distribution relationships with regional companies to "enable them to manufacture arrays onsite for their local markets," the company said. "Such relationships benefit CombiMatrix by expanding the commercial market for its products without having to build additional infrastructure."

Besides selling its synthesizers to these partners, CombiMatrix said it "will continue to sell blank CustomArrays, reagents, additional synthesizers, and equipment to the partner for its local customers."


ABI's Fiscal Q3 Revenue Grows 8 Percent as Sequencing Stumbles and RT-PCR Shines

Applied Biosystems last week reported that fiscal third-quarter sales increased 8 percent as R&D spending declined 6 percent and profits surged 121 percent.

Total revenues for the three months ended March 31 increased to $490.7 million from $454.8 million in the year-ago period. Revenue from the firm's DNA sequencing segment declined 4 percent to $136.5 million, while mass spec sales jumped 9 percent to $113.9 million, core PCR and DNA synthesis revenue increased 4 percent to $51.7 million, and "other" product lines inched up 1 percent to $26.4 million.

Revenue from the RT-PCR and applied genomics segment surged 23 percent year over year to $162.2 million, though the increase was buoyed by revenue generated by an Ambion business ABI acquired March 1 (see BAN 3/7/2006).

ABI said the Ambion assets contributed 1 percent to total third-quarter revenue and unfavorable currency valuations shed around 2 percent from the company's top line. Receipts also included around $14 million in licensing fees and royalty payments related to ABI's settlement with Bio-Rad Laboratories and its MJ Research business.

ABI said fiscal third-quarter R&D spending declined to $48 million from $51 million year over year.

Profits, however, surged in the period to $124.4 million, or $.67 per basic share, from $55.5 million, or $.28 per basic share. For the quarter, certain items decreased profits by a total of $5.4 million, ABI said. These items included a pre-tax charge of $35 million ABI paid as part of an agreement with Beckman Coulter to settle certain patent infringement claims against ABI; $33.4 million related to the Bio-Rad settlement; a $3.4 million pre-tax charge to write off certain parts of the Ambion acquisition; and a $900,000 "favorable" pre-tax adjustment for a previously recorded asset impairment.

The fiscal third quarter also included $63.3 million in tax benefits related to a completed IRS exam, a state valuation allowance reversal, and research and development credits, ABI said.

ABI does not disclose its balance sheet.

Looking ahead, the company said expects revenue for the remainder of the fiscal year to grow in the mid-single-digit range. ABI said it expects revenue to continue to grow in its RT-PCR/applied genomics, mass spec, and core PCR and DNA synthesis product categories. The company also said it expects revenue to decline in DNA sequencing and "other" product lines.


PerkinElmer's Q1 Revenues Decline Despite 2-Percent Organic Growth

PerkinElmer last week reported a 2-percent increase in first-quarter organic revenues, although the company's overall revenues declined slightly.

Revenue for the quarter ended April 2 dipped to $355.5 million from $358.2 million in the first quarter of 2005. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange and acquisitions, however, first-quarter revenue grew 2 percent year over year.

Revenues for PerkinElmer's Life and Analytical Sciences segment also fell slightly, to $261.9 million for the first quarter of 2006 from $264.8 million in the first quarter of 2005. The company said that organic revenues for this business unit also grew 2 percent compared to the prior-year period.

This increase "was driven by strong revenue growth in the company's genetic screening and service businesses, partially offset by a decrease in the biopharma business," PerkinElmer said in a statement.

Sales were nearly flat in the company's Optoelectronics business unit, which reported revenue of $93.5 million compared to $93.4 million in the first quarter 2005.

PerkinElmer's R&D spending rose slightly to $22.8 million from $22.6 million in the first quarter of 2005.

Net income increased 19 percent to $23.6 million from $19.8 million in the prior-year period.

PerkinElmer had $321.8 million in cash and cash equivalents as of April 2.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.