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Reagent Sales Lift Roche NimbleGen Revenues 26 Percent in H1

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By Justin Petrone

Roche reported last week that its microarray revenues grew by more than a quarter in the first half of this year.

Sales of Roche NimbleGen products climbed 26 percent for the first sixth months of 2010, buoyed by strong reagent sales, which were up 63 percent compared to the same period of 2009.

In its half-year report, the Swiss drug giant noted that its Roche NimbleGen business completed the rollout of its cytogenetics microarray workflow system during the period, including arrays for simultaneous analysis of multiple probes, instruments and reagents, as well as analysis and visualization software. Specifically, the firm introduced in the first quarter its six-sample NimbleGen CGX-6 multiplex array for high-resolution analysis of chromosomal abnormalities. The release followed the launch of other multiplex NimbleGen CGX arrays last year (BAN 11/10/2009).

Demand for sequence-capture arrays also contributed to the business's top line. Roche reported in April that sequence-capture array sales helped boost array revenues 40 percent during the first three months of the year (BAN 4/20/2010).

In comparison, Roche's Applied Science business area, which includes Roche NimbleGen and is part of the company's diagnostic division, reported CHF 449 million ($430 million) in sales for the first half of the year, a 14 percent increase in local currencies compared to the first half of 2009. For the second quarter of 2010, Applied Science sales totaled CHF 223 million, a 9 percent increase in local currencies over the same period last year.

Roche attributed much of the increase in Applied Science during the first half of the year to sales of its cell analysis and custom biotech segments as well as the MagNA Pure and LightCycler product lines. Roche said in its report that "strong sequencing sales" of its Roche 454 Life Science instruments also contributed to the growth in H1 revenues, though Roche did not break out sales figures for the 454 business.

While Roche does not provide sales figures for Roche NimbleGen or 454, a recent survey conducted by JP Morgan's Life Science Tools and Diagnostics group predicted that Roche will sell $49.6 million worth of arrays this year (BAN 5/18/2010). The same survey anticipated Roche's array sales to reach $59.5 million in 2011 and $68.4 million in 2012.

According to the JP Morgan analysts, NimbleGen's current share of the market is 5.5 percent, but they expect it to grow to 7.4 percent by 2012.