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GE Healthcare, Stemagen, Roche, VTT, Becton Dickinson

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GE Healthcare's Q4 Revenues Rise 6 Percent as Profits Drop 4 Percent
 
The GE Healthcare unit of General Electric last week reported fourth-quarter revenues of $5 billion, up 6 percent from revenues of $4.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006.
 
Despite the revenue gains, profits for GE Healthcare dropped 4 percent to $1.04 billion from $1.08 billion year over year.
 
“Healthcare’s segment profit was down 4 percent with the continued challenge from its OEC business and the effects of the Deficit Reduction Act,” Jeff Immelt, GE chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “The balance of the business is in good shape. We expect Healthcare to improve in ’08.”
 
Early last year, GE’s OEC Medical Systems division signed a consent decree with the US Food and Drug Administration for a permanent injunction related to X-ray surgical imaging systems. The consent decree was the result of CGMP deficiencies found by FDA investigators in August 2006 at the division’s manufacturing facility in Utah.
 
Immelt said during a conference call last week that he is not expecting the firm’s diagnostic imaging products to provide “tremendous growth,” but he does expect the Healthcare segment to generate positive net earnings for all quarters of 2008. He estimated that GE Healthcare will report profit growth of 5 percent in the first quarter of 2008.
 
The firm did not mention its life science research products in either its press release or conference call.
 
For full-year 2007, GE Healthcare posted revenues of $17 billion, up 3 percent from revenues of $16.6 billion in 2006. Its profit for the year shrunk 3 percent to $3.06 billion from $3.14 billion last year.
 
Overall, fourth-quarter revenues for the diversified industrial, finance, and entertainment giant rose 18 percent to $48.6 billion from $41.3 billion year over year. The firm posted a profit of $6.7 billion, up 4 percent from $6.4 billion in Q4 2006.
 
For full-year 2007, GE reported revenue of $172.7 billion, up 14 percent from $151.8 billion in 2006. Its fiscal 2007 profit climbed 7 percent to $22.2 billion from $20.7 billion in 2006.
 

 
Stemagen First to Use SCNT to Clone Human Embryo
 
Stemagen announced this week that it has become the first in the world to create and document a cloned human embryo using somatic cell nuclear transfer.
 
Stemagen's research was published in the January 17 issue of Stem Cells.
 
Five blastocysts were developed from 25 donated mature oocytes. Three were confirmed to be clones based on DNA fingerprinting demonstrating the presence of the skin cell donor DNA in the blastocyst, while one was further confirmed to be a clone by an additional mitochondrial DNA analysis, which revealed the presence of oocyte donor mtDNA without any oocyte donor nuclear DNA.
 
For technical reasons, the genetic material in the remaining two blastocysts did not amplify to the extent required for analysis, and so while it is likely that they were clones, the evidence required to claim that with certainty was not present, the company said. Thus, in this study, cloned blastocysts were successfully created from approximately 10 percent of all mature donated oocytes.
 

 
Roche, VTT to Collaborate on Cancer Drug, Biomarker Studies
 
Turku, Finland-based VTT said this week that it is collaborating with Roche on research studies for an unnamed Roche cancer drug and potential predictive biomarkers.
 
VTT said the studies will use its high-throughput screening, RNA interference, cell biology, and bioinformatics capabilities. The firm said it would conduct the research at its facilities in Finland.
 
Terms of the alliance were not disclosed.
 

 
Diagnostics, Biosciences Tools Drive BD's 18 Percent Sales Spike in Q1
 
Becton Dickinson this week said that its fiscal first-quarter revenues rose 13 percent as R&D spending increased 14.5 percent and its profit nearly doubled.
 
Total revenues for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2007, increased to $1.7 billion from $1.5 billion year over year. Currency effects contributed roughly 6 percent of the revenue growth, the firm said.
 
BD said revenues from its Diagnostics segment swelled 18 percent to $522.7 million, while its Biosciences segment revenue followed suit, rising 18 percent to $273.7 million. Revenue from its Medical segment was up 10 percent to $909.3 million. 
 
Around five percent of the growth in the Diagnostics segment came from the acquisition of TriPath in early 2007, and sales of molecular testing systems also contributed to growth in the segment, BD said.
 
The firm’s cell analysis products, which are part of the Biosciences segment, had robust sales of $137.8 million, a 28.6 percent increase over sales of $107.2 million in the comparable quarter a year ago.
 
Sales in the US increased 10 percent to $790 million, while sales outside the US climbed 17 percent to $916 million, aided by an estimated 11 percent favorable currency impact.
 
BD’s profit for the quarter rose sharply to $271.5 million, or $1.07 per share, from $142.9 million, or $.56 per share, in the year-ago period. Last year’s results included costs of $114.7 million related to acquired in-process research and development from its acquisition of TriPath.
 
The firm’s R&D spending for the quarter increased to $91.5 million from $79.9 million year over year, while its SG&A costs rose 9.8 percent to $421.7 million from $384.1 million.

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.