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Will Biacore s Flexchip Purchase End its Transition Period?

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Since October 2004, Biacore International has been undergoing some dramatic changes in its operation. It started by laying off 80 of its 345 workers, 30 of them from the area of research and development, while implementing a plan to cut R&D costs by SEK 55 million ($7.5 million) a year. The company also announced plans to shut down its facility in Neuchatel, Switzerland by mid-2005.

The result of the layoffs alone cost Biacore SEK 36 million, and the company saw US sales decline in its fourth quarter of 2004. Net income also declined to SEK 20.6 million from SEK 55.4 million from fourth quarter of 2003.

At the time, Biacore CEO Erik Walldén said that the cuts were “necessary to return Biacore to profitability in 2005 and to enable us to capture the growth opportunities that clearly exist for our current range of instruments.” He may have been right.

By purchasing FlexChip from HTS Biosystems, Biacore achieved its goal of gaining new footholds in the burgeoning protein array market without dumping millions in R&D.

It also now has increasing momentum. It rolled out of a new protein interaction analysis system called the Biacore T100 at this year’s ABRF meeting in Savannah, Ga., it will commercially launch its own line of protein arrays this year, and with FlexChip it picked up a new flagship product, and ten new customers.

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