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Molecular Devices, Invitrogen and Dynal Biotech, RZPD and GeneCopoeia, Luminex, and Atugen and Asinex

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Molecular Devices Q4 Revenues Grow 43 Percent to $47.5M

Molecular Devices last week reported total revenues of $47.5 million for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, a 43-percent improvement over the $33 million in revenues that the company posted for same quarter last year.

The company reported a one-time restructuring charge of $1.2 million for the acquisition of Axon Instruments and had net income of $14.6 million, compared to $3 million a year ago.

Molecular Devices’ R&D spending increased 52 percent to $7 million in the quarter from $4.6 million in Q4 2003.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company reported cash and cash equivalents of $30 million on the quarter and a non-operating gain of $18.3 million from the sale of company in which it had an equity investment.


Invitrogen to Acquire Norwegian Magnetic Bead Maker Dynal Biotech for $380M

Invitrogen plans to purchase Norwegian magnetic bead maker Dynal Biotech from its majority owner, Nordic Capital, and a co-investor for 2.5 billion Norwegian kroner ($380 million), the company said last week.

Dynal Biotech, based in Oslo, provides magnetic bead-based separation technologies that are used in cell separation and purification, cell stimulation, protein research, nucleic acid research, and microbiology.

Invitrogen plans to integrate the company’s Dynabead technology to enhance its own products for assay development, RNA interference, DNA cloning, proteomic analysis, and screening applications. It also plans to couple Dynabeads with targeted antibodies from Zymed Laboratories, another company Invitrogen is in the process of acquiring.

The acquisition is scheduled to close by the end of March. Invitrogen expects Dynal, which has more than 400 employees in Norway, the US, the UK, and China, to create $74 million in revenues from April until the end of the year.


RZPD to Distribute GeneCopoeia Expression Clones in the EU, Three Other Countries

GeneCopoeia’s seven sets of OmicsLink expression clones will be distributed in the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey by Deutsches Ressourcenzentrum fur Genomforschung, according to the terms of a recent agreement, the companies said last week.

The expression-ready clones contain full-length protein-coding ORFs of human genes with various promoters, unique tags, and other features that allow direct expression of proteins in E. coli, mammalian, yeast, insect cells and in vitro cell-free translation systems, GeneCopoeia said. The clones also provide researchers with the capability of large-scale and high-throughput analysis and understanding of the functions and behaviors of proteins for both in vivo and in vitro systems without doing any cloning work.


Luminex Q4 Revenues Rise 8.3 Percent, Net Loss Balloons 71 Percent

Luminex last week reported that fourth-quarter revenue increased 8.3 percent to $9.1 million from $8.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

R&D spending for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2004, increased 13 percent to $908,000 from $807,000 for the same quarter in 2003.

Net loss in the current quarter surged 71 percent to $1.1 million from $643,000 in the year-ago quarter.

The company had $36 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand as of Dec. 31.


Atugen and Asinex Pen Drug-Discovery Alliance

Atugen and Asinex have signed a cancer drug discovery and development collaboration, the companies said last week.

The companies aim to develop compounds directed against PKN3, a kinase target involved in prostate cancer. Atugen, based in Berlin, focuses on siRNA-based drugs and will contribute its target discovery and in vivo screening expertise, while Asinex, located in Moscow, will provide its drug design, medicinal chemistry, and in vitro screening knowledge, the companies said.

The companies also said they will share the risk of the research and split future revenues equally.

The Scan

mRNA-Based Vaccine on the Way in China

China may soon have its own mRNA-based vaccine, according to Nature News.

Arranged Killing, Fraud Alleged by Prosecutors

The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors allege that the co-founder of a biotech arranged to have a business associate who threatened to expose him as a fraud killed.

Whirlwind Decade of CRISPR

The New York Times looks back at the 10 years since the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues published their CRISPR paper.

PNAS Papers on Blue Cone Monochromacy Structural Variants, HIV-1 Mutant, T-ALL

In PNAS this week: structural variants linked to blue cone monochromacy, HIV-1 variants affecting the matrix protein p17, and more.