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In Brief This Week: PerkinElmer; DaVita, Roche; Unilabs, BGI; Intrexon; Agilent; Danaher; Sigma-Aldrich; GE Healthcare

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – PerkinElmer reduced its headcount by 17 in the first quarter as part of a restructuring plan, it said in its Form 10-Q this week. The company recognized pre-tax restructuring charges of $400,000 and $200,000 in its Human Health segment and Environmental Health segment, respectively, as a result. PerkinElmer also shut down its Signature Genomics business subsequent to the end of the first quarter.

DaVita Kidney Care has launched its molecular diagnostic testing service with Roche Diagnostics' Cobas TaqMan HCV v.2 test run on the Cobas Ampliprep instrument to test for hepatitis C levels in blood. With its new MDx capabilities, DaVita will be able to help nephrologists manage patients who have chronic HCV, the company said. It also plans to evaluate viral load testing for hepatitis B, HIV, and cytomegalovirus on Roche's quantitative PCR platform. DaVita Kidney Care is a division of DaVita HealthCare Partners.

Medical diagnostics service firm Unilabs and BGI have signed a collaboration agreement. In an e-mail to GenomeWeb Daily News, Unilabs said the deal leverages its access to the European market and BGI's next-generation sequencing-based panels and bioinformatics support. "This collaboration will provide our customers with access to innovative and affordable NGS solutions from BGI, which will be combined with the expertise of our genetic doctors' interpretation," Unilabs said, adding the initial focus will be on cancer. Financial and other terms were not disclosed.

Intrexon's first quarter revenues doubled year over year to $7.9 million from $3.9 million. The firm also turned in a profit of $3.2 million, or $.04 per share, compared to a net loss of $36.4 million, or $7.54 per share, a year ago. Intrexon went public last summer and used 99.3 million shares to calculate its per-share earnings figure for Q1 2014, compared to 5.7 million shares in Q1 2013. Its R&D spending was up 6 percent to $12.1 million from $11.4 million, while its SG&A costs more than doubled to $13.6 million from $6.5 million. Intrexon finished the quarter with $110.1 million in cash and cash equivalents and $112.8 million in short-term investments, it said.

Agilent Technologies and Seoul National University are collaborating on a new research center to support the College of Pharmacy's New Drug Development Center. The partners will conduct drug metabolism studies and research, evaluate, and develop new compounds. They also aim to provide insights on the remedial effects and toxicity of drugs, perform pharmacokinetic assessments, and conduct clinical testing. Agilent is providing bioanalytical instruments and expertise in drug testing and multi-omic biological systems to the College of Pharmacy, and the jointly established research center will be an Agilent reference site for drug development.

Danaher's board approved a regular quarterly dividend of $.10 per share payable on July 25 to shareholders of record on June 27.

Sigma-Aldrich announced a quarterly cash dividend of $.23 per share payable on June 13 to shareholders of record on May 30.

The parties that will be participating in the developmental validation of GE Healthcare Life Sciences' DNAscan Rapid DNA Analysis System were named this week. They include NetBio; the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; the Michigan State Police; and the Dubai Police Crime Laboratory. They will evaluate the system from the swab-in stage to the profile-out step. The assessment includes the on-board Expert System software, which uses automated data interpretation, eliminating the need for human review, GE Healthcare said.

In Brief This Week is a Friday column containing news items that our readers may have missed during the week.