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Agilent, Velocity11, Caliper, National Institutes of Health

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Agilent Buys Automated Lab Technologies Company Velocity11
 
Agilent Technologies said this week that it has inked a deal to buy Velocity11, a private life science lab technology company, for an undisclosed sum.
 
Agilent believes the acquisition will strengthen its automated sample-preparation offerings across a broad range of applications.
 
Velocity11 designs, makes, and markets robotic solutions including stand-alone, bench-top, and multi-armed robotic systems. The company also markets software designed to control the robotics in its products.
 
Agilent said it would offer jobs to “substantially all of Velocity11’s approximately 150 employees worldwide.”
 
Velocity11 is based in Menlo Park, Calif., with a second office in Melbourn, Hertfordshire, UK, and has field sales and support “throughout the US and Western Europe.”
 
Nick Roelofs, Agilent's VP of life science systems and solutions, said the acquisition will help the firm offer automated solutions that can “speed drug discovery and genetic research.”
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Caliper's Q3 Revenues Rise 38 Percent as Net Loss Narrows 82 Percent
 
Caliper Life Sciences this week said that its third-quarter revenues rose 38 percent on strong microfluidics sales and net loss fell 82 percent.
 
For the three months ended Sept. 30, Caliper’s revenues increased to $36.7 million from $26.5 million year over year. The firm attributed the growth to last year’s acquisition of Xenogen, its drug-discovery services, and increased license fees from its microfluidic products.
 
Sales for Caliper’s microfluidics instruments and reagents grew 49 percent year over year. The firm attributed growth in that segment to the introduction earlier this year of its LabChip EZ Reader and ongoing sales of its LabChip 90 platform.
 
Microfluidics growth was offset by IVIS imaging revenues, which declined $1.5 million year over year, the firm said. Caliper said it anticipates imaging products will recover to “a sustainable 16 percent growth rate” in the fourth quarter and beyond.
 
The firm’s service revenue grew 71 percent in the quarter.
 
Caliper’s R&D costs shrank 34 percent to $5.7 million from $8.7 million year over year.
 
The company’s third-quarter net loss declined 82 percent to $2.4 million from $13.5 million in the comparable period a year ago.
 
Caliper finished the quarter with $14.2 million in cash and equivalents.
 
The firm expects to report revenues in a range of $37 million to $40 million for the fourth quarter, or between 6.6 percent and 15.3 percent better than the same period last year.
 

 
NIH Seeks Industry Partners for RNAi Research Initiative
 
The National Institutes of Health is looking for businesses with RNAi-related know-how and technology to help support a planned trans-NIH effort to spread the use of RNAi within its institutes.
 
NIH said in a notice last week that it intends to meet with industry representatives in December for their comments and for information, and plans to discuss entering pricing arrangements with prospective contracts to support these RNAi-centered efforts.
 
NIH said in a request for information that its RNAi initiative aims to facilitate moderate-throughput and high-throughput screens “that ultimately target entire genomes,” and will focus on human and mouse models.
 
NIH intends to develop a list of firms and suppliers that may provide reagents and high-throughput screens, negotiate pricing, develop ordering procedures, and provide technical support to the researchers.
 
The moderate-throughput projects will aim for “uniform pricing and a mechanism for technical support.”
 
“Purchase units for both transfection and stable integration of human and mouse cells should be sufficient for triplicate experiments for each target gene, siRNAs, shRNAs, and other potential novel reagents … of interest.” The agency added that pricing for individual target genes, plates, and transfection reagents is planned.
 
On the high-throughput end, NIH said it seeks reagent pricing information and that pilot projects may require “close contact” between NIH researchers and the businesses involved in the initiative.
 
More information about the meeting and the RFI can be found here.

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