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BD, Beckman Coulter, Caliper, Invitrogen, Proctor & Gamble, Cellomics, Max Planck Institute, Evotec, Boehringer Ingelheim


BD Reports Strong Fiscal Q4 Revenue Growth; Shares Climb 9 Percent

Becton Dickinson last week reported 10-percent revenue growth in its fiscal fourth quarter, and a positive outlook for the next year. However, 7 percent of that growth was organic while the remaining 3 percent was due to favorable currency exchange rates.

Total revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 increased to $1.4 billion from $1.2 billion year over year.

In the BD Biosciences segment, total quarterly revenue increased 12 percent to $214 million. Research instrument and reagent sales continued to be primary growth contributors, the company said.

The BD Diagnostics segment saw its total revenues for the quarter increase 8 percent to $403 million. Growth in this segment was spurred by strong international sales, which outperformed the United States.

BD Medical accounted for slightly more than half of total revenues, at 55 percent. BD Medical's total fourth-quarter revenues increased 11 percent to $762 million.

Geographically, US revenues increased 9 percent to $687 million over the previous quarter, and international revenues increased 11 percent to $692 million. All business segments gained from favorable exchange rates and the company estimated a 3-percent benefit from foreign currency translation for the quarter, the company said.

R&D spending for the fourth quarter increased 30 percent to $76.5 million from $58 million.

"Performance such as this will allow us to increase the pace of our R&D spending while also targeting double-digit earnings growth," Edward J. Ludwig, BD's president and CEO said in a statement.

BD also posted a profit of approximately $149 million, or $.60 per share, from approximately $67 million, or $.27 per share during last year's fourth quarter. BD expects "earnings will grow by approximately 10 percent" for fiscal year 2006, said Ludwig.

The company did not break out its cash on hand.

Beckman Coulter Q3 Revenues Grow 2 Percent as Income Drops Nearly 40 Percent

Beckman Coulter last week said that its third-quarter sales grew by 2 percent, while net income fell 38 percent.

Total worldwide sales for the three months ended Sept. 30 rose to $593.4 million from $581.2 million in the same quarter last year. The company reported that $591.7 million of total sales for the quarter were organic, while $1.7 million could be attributed to currency.

The Fullerton, Calif.-based company also said that sales in the US remained even compared to last year, but that international sales grew by 3.8 percent.

Net income in the third quarter fell to $36.2 million from $57.2 million year over year, the company said, resulting in basing earnings being reduced to $0.58 per share from $0.93 per share.

Beckman Coulter said that the company incurred $19.2 million in special charges during the quarter, mostly due to "impaired receivables and leased equipment" related to Hurricane Katrina — which cost the company $4.9 million — and "the non-cash write off of intangible assets of discontinued robotic automation product" from the discontinuation of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy testing initiative, which cost Beckman $13.4 million.

The company also added specifics to a plan to reorganize the company, signaling its intent to "close at least three facilities, sell two parcels of real estate, harvest or discontinue mature product lines," reduce 350 positions, and streamline the company's physical distribution.

Beckman Coulter president and CEO Scott Garrett said in a statement that he expects the lay-offs will result in a benefit of up to $2 million in the fourth quarter of this year, as well as "$15 million of annual savings in 2006, growing to $20 million of annual savings in 2007 and beyond."

Garrett also offered a preliminary outlook on 2006. Beckman is now expecting total 2006 sales to be $2.5-$2.6 billion. He added that the company's decision to favor operating-type leases over sales-type leases for instrument placements may reduce sales over 2005 and 2006 as the change in policy is implemented.

"Our original range for the impact of the leasing policy change on sales through 2006 was $200 to $220 million," Garrett said. "We now expect the change to reduce revenues by $190 to 200 million over the implementation period, which will be split about evenly between 2005 and 2006."

Beckman Coulter spent $51.6 million on R&D in the quarter, compared to $51.5 million in the same quarter last year.

As of Sept. 30, the company held cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments, and restricted cash totaling $59.3 million.

Caliper Reports 5.7-Percent Increase in Q3 Revenue Amid Narrowed Losses

Caliper last week reported a 5.7-percent year-over-year revenue increase for the third quarter. The Hopkinton, Mass.-based biotech also narrowed its net loss by 25 percent.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Caliper reported revenues of $21.3 million, compared to $20.2 million in the third quarter of 2004. Of this, approximately $15.8 million was product revenue, while the rest resulted from service, contract, and license fees.

The company spent $4.2 million on R&D in the period, down from $5.2 million year over year.

Caliper's net losses for the quarter decreased to $3.9 million from $5.1 million in the same quarter last year.

As of Sept. 30, Caliper had cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities of $34.8 million.

Invitrogen Inks Drug-Discovery Collaboration with Chinese Drug-Screening Center …

Invitrogen will provide its drug-discovery technologies to the National Center for Drug Screening, a Shanghai-based public technology organization that specializes in screening new drugs in China, the company said last week.

The deal calls for Invitrogen to contribute drug-discovery technologies such as GeneBlazer and Polar Screen, and to help the National Center for Drug Screening develop new assays and techniques specific to the collaboration, the company said.

Specific terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Late last year, the Chinese National Center for Drug Screening announced a deal with high-content screening firm Cellomics (see CBA News, 9/7/2004).

… and Extends RNAi Pact with Proctor & Gamble Pharma Through 2006

Invitrogen and Proctor & Gamble Pharmaceuticals have extended a research service agreement through 2006, the firms said last week.

The agreement extends a collaboration between the two companies that is several years old.

According to Invitrogen's CEO Greg Lucier, P&GP has been using Invitrogen's RNAi tools such as Stealth, RNAi Gateway, and lentiviral vectors in its target identification and validation programs.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Cellomics Announces HCS-Development Deal with Max Planck Institute

Cellomics last week announced a collaboration with Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, located in Dresden, Germany, in the area of high-content screening development for drug discovery.

As reported in the July 4 issue of CBA News, as part of the agreement Max Planck has purchased the Cellomics' ArrayScan VTI HCS Reader along with its complete portfolio of BioApplications and HCi informatics software (see CBA News, 7/4/2005).

The collaboration will include a mix of applications and new product development, as well as establishing a key demonstration center for Europe, Cellomics said.

Evotec, Boehringer Ingelheim Extend Screening Services Pact

Evotec said last week that Boehringer Ingelhiem pharmaceuticals has increased the scope of its screening services pact with Evotec.

In addition to a previously established program to identify and develop GPCR therapeutics, Boehringer research sites in Biberach, Germany, and Laval, Canada, will now collaborate with Evotec under a fee-for-service agreement.

Financial details were not disclosed.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.