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Caliper Launches Drug-Discovery Service Arm From NovaScreen and Xenogen Components

Caliper Life Sciences this week said that it has officially combined its NovaScreen Biosciences and Xenogen Biosciences arms into a single drug-discovery service division called Caliper Discovery Alliances and Services, or CDAS.
The new service division will put Caliper in more direct competition with contract drug-discovery operations such as MDS Pharma Services, though CDAS’ portfolio of in vitro and in vivo assay services may be largely unmatched in the industry.
Specifically, CDAS offers more than 700 in vitro assay types, including receptor, enzyme, and ion channel screening and profiling, side-effect and ADME-tox panels, as well as cellular models for immunology, oncology, and other fields.
It also offers more than 85 in vivo pharmacological assays that measure more than 400 parameters for applications such as compound profiling and phenotyping, and target validation. Other in vivo services include the creation of genetically modified animal models and biophotonic imaging of animals for oncology and other therapeutic areas.
Despite the integration, Caliper has no plans to consolidate its facilities. In fact, the company is considering expanding NovaScreen’s and Xenogen’s facilities, a Caliper executive told CBA News this week.
Caliper, once a pure-play microfluidics-based consumables and instrumentation vendor, began to morph into a dual tool vendor-CRO in late 2005 when it acquired Hanover, Md.-based NovaScreen Biosciences for approximately $30 million (see CBA News, 9/12/2005).
Then, in 2006, Caliper bought in vivo imaging tool vendor Xenogen Biosciences for approximately $80 million, in what at first seemed like an odd fit for Caliper (see CBA News, 2/17/2006).
Soon thereafter, Caliper made it clear that it was pursuing a strategy of offering research tools and services for building an “in vitro-in vivo bridge,” a message the company has relentlessly publicized over the past year.
This week, with the formation of CDAS, Caliper’s transformation appears complete. Caliper will now compete more squarely with other large pharmaceutical CROs, although it believes that its wide range of service offerings sets it apart from such competitors.
“Many companies in the space provide in vitro or in vivo discovery services; however, few offer a comparable comprehensive portfolio of in vitro and in vivo assays and technologies,” David Manyak, executive vice president of discovery services of Caliper Life Sciences and head of CDAS, wrote in an e-mail to CBA News this week.
“MDS Pharma Services is an example of a company that offers a similar range of service offerings,” Manyak wrote. “What makes CDAS unique is the integration of comprehensive individual assays into coordinated discovery or development programs for specific therapeutic areas. This ensures a continuum of experimentation from biochemical assays to cell-based assays to in vivo assays using a common set of reagents, relevant translatable cell sources, and corresponding in vivo models especially built on Xenogen’s imaging technology.”
Caliper also stands to derive a much larger chunk of its overall revenues from drug-discovery services, as opposed to the sale of its flagship LabChip platform, laboratory-automation instruments, and related instrumentation and consumables.
Manyak declined to break down revenues by business units, but said the company’s 2006 year-end financial report and upcoming quarterly reports should give some indication.
Manyak did tell CBA News that Caliper has already begun to exploit the potential of what it calls the “I-I bridge” with existing Xenogen and NovaScreen customers.

“At this time, there are no plans to consolidate CDAS facilities. In fact, expansion options are currently under consideration for both the Hanover, [Md.], site and the Cranbury, [NJ], facility.”

“Historically, Xenogen Biosciences and Novascreen have shared common customers,” Manyak wrote in his e-mail. “This is a synergy Caliper recognized during the acquisition due-diligence process. A number of these clients have current contracts with CDAS that are individual components of I-I Bridge strategies. With the recent rollout of the I-I Bridge strategy, CDAS is also developing I-I Bridge projects with current and prospective customers focusing in the areas of immunology, inflammation, and oncology.”
Caliper is based in Hopkinton, Mass., and has a facility in Mountain View, Calif., and the firm has no plans to consolidate any of the existing NovaScreen or Xenogen facilities, Manyak wrote.
Xenogen had offices in Alameda, Calif. – about 40 miles from Caliper’s Mountain View offices – and in Cranbury, NJ. NovaScreen, meantime, was headquartered in Hanover, Md.
According to Manyak, “At this time, there are no plans to consolidate CDAS facilities. In fact, expansion options are currently under consideration for both the Hanover, [Md.], site and the Cranbury, [NJ], facility,” he wrote in the e-mail. “Each organization is actively recruiting additional members to our team to support our growth objectives.”
It is unclear whether Xenogen’s Alameda offices have been integrated with the Mountain View site.