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Beckman, Becton Dickinson, Genospectra, Alnylam, Sigma-Aldrich


Beckman to Cut 350 Jobs in Restructuring; Reports Increased Q2 Sales, Lackluster Earnings

Beckman Coulter plans to cut 350 jobs in an effort to reorganize and cut costs, the company said last week. Beckman also reported a slight increase in sales but a drop in earnings for the second quarter of 2005.

The company said it plans to fold its two operating divisions — clinical diagnostics and biomedical research — into one, creating four business groups that will focus on chemistry systems, immunoassay systems, cellular systems, and discovery and automation systems, respectively, as well as two commercial organizations concentrating on domestic and international markets. In addition, Beckman said it will review "minor" product lines, facilities, and other assets that do not support its new strategy. Beckman will take a charge of up to $60 million during the second half of this year for the reorganization.

The layoffs will comprise only around 3 percent of Beckman's staff. The company employed 10,200 people as of Dec. 31, 2004.

In addition, Beckman will offer more operating-type leases instead of sales-type leases for its diagnostic systems, meaning that revenues will be recognized over a longer period. Beckman hopes this will "further improve competitiveness, sales efficiency, and product margins," according to a company statement.

Beckman's sales for the quarter totaled $618.8 million, up almost 4 percent from $597.3 million during the same period last year. In the biomedical research division, sales climbed more than 5 percent, while clinical diagnostics sales increased 3 percent.

R&D expenses climbed to $50.1 million, from $46.6 million during the same quarter in 2004.

Beckman posted earnings of $47.7 million, or $.73 per share, for the quarter, down 18 percent from the year-ago quarter, when earnings totaled $58.3 million, or $.88 per share.

As of June 30, Beckman had $46.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.

BD Reports 11-Percent Q2 Revenue Increase, 75-Percent Jump in Earnings Due to $100M Litigation Charge Last Year

Becton Dickinson last week reported a jump in revenues and income for the second quarter of 2005.

Revenues for the quarter were $1.38 billion, up 11 percent from $1.24 billion during the same period last year. BD Biosciences contributed $200 million to this, an 8-percent increase over the year-ago period. Research instrument and reagent growth contributed primarily to this growth, as well as discovery labware products. BD Biosciences' results do not include Clontech, which has been classified as a "discontinued operation." On July 1, BD said it will sell Clontech to Takara Bio of Japan.

Research and development costs increased to $67 million, from $58.5 million during the year-ago period.

BD's net income increased to $189.7 million, or $.73 per share, up almost 75 percent from $109.4 million, or $.41 per share, during last year's second quarter. Last year's results included a $100 million charge related to a litigation settlement with an undisclosed party in July 2004. BD said this charge reduced its prior-year net income by $63 million and EPS by $.24.

Genospectra, French CNRS to Co-Develop Delivery Reagents; Firm Exclusively Licenses Tech

Genospectra has licensed a technology to deliver reagents into cells from the French National Center for Scientific Research and will collaborate with CNRS to develop new delivery reagents, the company said last week.

The agreement gives Fremont-Calif.-based Genospectra an exclusive worldwide license to the MPG technology, which was developed by researchers at the CNRS in Montpellier. The partners plan to co-develop a panel of delivery reagents optimized to transfer a wide variety of molecules into live cells, which Genospectra has the right to market and sell.

Genospectra and CNRS have been collaborating for two years, and Genospectra recently released its first delivery reagent based on the technology for transferring siRNA into cells.

Alnylam Licenses RNAi Patent Family to Sigma-Aldrich

Sigma-Aldrich has licensed a number of RNA interference patents known as the Kreutzer-Limmer patent family from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to provide research products and services, the companies said last week.

The patents cover short interfering RNAs and their use to mediate RNA interference in mammalian cells.

Including Sigma, 12 companies have taken licenses to Alnylam's patent estate so far, including seven reagent and service providers.

Cell-Based Assay News
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