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David Spaight, David Weber, Invitrogen, Molecular Devices, Bruker, Beckman, ABI, Waters, PerkinElmer, Spectral Genomics, Thermo Electron, Agilent, GeneSpring

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MDS has hired David Spaight as president of MDS Pharma Services, effective immediately. Most recently, Spaight served as senior vice president of global sales and marketing at Fisher Scientific. He has a BS in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Michigan.


Eksigent Technologies has hired David Weber as its new CEO and president. Weber, who also becomes a director, joins the company from Stratagene, where he was vice president of global marketing and business.

BioCommerce Briefs

Invitrogen Divests BioReliance's German Operations;
Will Spend $23.3M to Expand Scottish Campus

Invitrogen has sold its BioReliance Manufacturing business to a consortium of investors led by BioReliance's managing director, the company said last week.

After the management buy-out, which was led by Thomas Pultar, the company will be called BIOMEVA.

BioReliance Manufacturing is based in Heidelberg, Germany. It is a "small part" of the overall BioReliance business, based in Rockville, Md., which Invitrogen will retain, according to a company spokesperson.

Terms of the divestiture were not disclosed. Invitrogen acquired BioReliance in December 2003 for $500 million.

"Bacterial contract manufacturing was not aligned with our strategic direction," Bernd Brust, vice president and general manager for Invitrogen Europe, said in a statement.

BioReliance Manufacturing offers fermentation and purification services using recombinant and natural microorganisms. The new company will continue this model, it said.

Separately, Invitrogen will spend £12.7 million ($23.3 million) to consolidate and expand its operations in Scotland, the Scottish Enterprise, the nation's main economic-development agency, said this week.

Among the expansion is a plan to create a new global corporate research center in Inchinnan on the outskirts of Glasgow, which will also become Invitrogen's new European headquarters.

The move, which will be supported with a £4.3-million investment from Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen, will potentially create 45 new jobs and protect 555 existing Invitrogen positions in Scotland, the Scottish Enterprise said. Asked whether the jobs had been in jeopardy, a Scottish Enterprise spokesperson said Invitrogen could have expended anyplace in Europe, but since it chose Scotland those positions will remain "safeguarded."

Terms of the expansion call for Invitrogen to centralize its current manufacturing and product development sites across Scotland into the Inchinnan Business Park.

The base, which will be moved into a 90,000-square-foot facility, will become the firm's European headquarters, and will have additional resources for R&D, sales, finance, legal, and customer services functions.

The move will "enable the company to meet increased business demand in a more cost effective way and has the potential for future expansion," Brust said in a statement.

An Invitrogen spokesperson said construction on the new facility will begin this summer, and it is slated to open in the fall of 2007. Invitrogen will finish transferring staff and operations at that time, the spokesperson added.


Molecular Devices' Q1 Revenues Rise 2.5 Percent

Molecular Devices last week said that first-quarter revenue grew 5 percent organically as R&D spending declined 11.3 percent and profits rose 55.5 percent.

Total receipts for the three months ended March 31 rose around 2.5 percent to $40 million from $39 million year over year, hurt by foreign currency effects. Without these effects, revenue grew 5 percent, the company said.

The company said it "saw excellent growth" in its SpectraMax, FLIPR, and high- content imaging product lines during the quarter. But the firm said this growth was "somewhat offset" by a "weaker than expected" quarter in Europe.

"We remain confident, however, that our worldwide life sciences and drug discovery markets will remain stable in the near term, and we do not expect this weakness to continue," President and CEO Joseph Keegan said in a statement.

R&D spending for the period declined to $5.5 million from $6.2 million year over year.

First-quarter profits more than doubled to $2.8 million, or $.17 per basic share, from $1.8 million, or $.11 per basic share, year over year.

Molecular Devices said it had around $33.2 million in cash and equivalents as of March 31.

Looking ahead, the company said it is poised to generate between $49 million and $51 million in second-quarter revenues, or growth of between 10.1 percent and 14.6 percent. Receipts for 2006, meantime, will likely be between $198 million and $206 million, or growth between 9.3 percent and 13.7 percent.


Bruker Revenues Drop Slightly, But Profits Rise Almost 90 Percent

Bruker BioSciences this week posted a slight drop in first-quarter revenues even though net income swelled by nearly 90 percent.

For the quarter ended March 31, revenues were $74.4 million, down less than 1 percent from the $74.9 million the company earned in the first quarter of 2005.

Bruker said that it spent $10.3 million on R&D in the first quarter, compared to $11 million in the comparable period last year.

Profit in the quarter rose roughly 90 percent to $776,000, from $417,000 in the year-ago period.

As of March 31, Bruker had $96 million in cash and cash equivalents.


Beckman Revenues Drop 1.2 Percent

Beckman Coulter this week said revenues for the first quarter dipped slightly, while net income grew by over a quarter.

Beckman posted $560 million in revenues for the quarter ended March 31, a 1.2 percent decline from the $576 million the company earned in the same period of last year. The company attributed the decline to a change in its instrument leasing policy.

Net income for the quarter grew 27 percent to $41.4 million from $32.6 million in the year-ago period.

Beckman said that it spent $55 million on R&D in the first quarter, compared to $48 million in the first quarter last year.

As of March 31, Beckman had $59 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Beckman said it expects second-quarter revenue to be between $620 million and $645 million, which would be improvements of between .3 percent and 4.4 percent above the $618.8 million the company posted for the second quarter last year.


ABI's Shares Raised to 'Outperform'; Waters' Stock Downgraded

Piper Jaffray last week increased Applied Biosystems' 12-month share price target and increased the company's rating to 'Outperform.'

The securities firm now expects ABI's shares to reach $33 within 12 months. It had expected it to reach $27. ABI's shares closed at $28.57 on Tuesday.

Last week, ABI said that fiscal third-quarter sales increased 8 percent as profits surged 121 percent (Elena: see article in this issue).

Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch last week cut ABI rival Waters' stock to 'Neutral' from 'Buy' after the company said first-quarter income declined year over year.

Waters' first-quarter sales rose 8.2 percent to $290.2 million, but its profits dropped slightly more than 5 percent for the period (see BioCommerce Week 4/6/2006).


PerkinElmer's Q1 Revenues Dip Slightly on Lull in
Biopharma Business; Buys Spectral Genomics

PerkinElmer last week reported a 2-percent increase in first-quarter organic revenues, although the company's overall revenues declined slightly.

Revenue for the quarter ended April 2 dipped almost 1 percent to $355.5 million from $358.2 million in the first quarter of 2005. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange and acquisitions, however, first-quarter revenue grew 2 percent year over year.

Revenues for PerkinElmer's Life and Analytical Sciences segment also fell slightly, to $261.9 million for the first quarter of 2006 from $264.8 million in the first quarter of 2005. The company said that organic revenues for this business unit also grew 2 percent compared to the prior-year period.

This increase "was driven by strong revenue growth in the company's genetic screening and service businesses, partially offset by a decrease in the biopharma business," PerkinElmer said in a statement.

Sales were nearly flat in the company's Optoelectronics business unit, which reported revenue of $93.5 million compared to $93.4 million in the first quarter 2005.

PerkinElmer's R&D spending rose slightly to $22.8 million from $22.6 million in the first quarter of 2005.

Net income increased 19 percent to $23.6 million from $19.8 million in the prior-year period.

PerkinElmer had $321.8 million in cash and cash equivalents as of April 2.

The firm also announced this week that it has acquired Spectral Genomics for an undisclosed sum.

Privately held Spectral Genomics develops array comparative genome hybridization products and analysis software that enable researchers to identify chromosomal abnormalities related to cancer and pre- and post-natal genetic disorders.

Robert Friel, president of PerkinElmer's Life and Analytical Sciences, said Spectral Genomics' technologies are "highly complementary to our current molecular medicine and genetic screening offerings."

Terms and other details of the deal were not disclosed.


Thermo Electron to Lay Off 100 Employees in Massachusetts Plant Closing

Thermo Electron plans to "discontinue all manufacturing and distribution operations" at its Milford, Mass., facility, the company disclosed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week.

As a result, Thermo said it will lay off 100 employees.

The facility is part of Thermo's Life and Laboratory Sciences segment and primarily manufactures centrifuges, molecular biology products, vacuum concentrators, and power supplies.

The Milford plant's activities will be relocated to Thermo's facility in Asheville, NC, which it acquired as part of its Kendro acquisition last May.

Thermo said in the SEC filing that it expects restructuring charges associated with the plant closing of around $8 million, including $2.3 million of severance and related personnel costs and $3.2 million of abandoned facility costs.


Agilent to Integrate GeneSpring Platform with Ingenuity Technology

Agilent Technologies will integrate its GeneSpring software platform with Ingenuity's Pathways Analysis technology, Ingenuity said this week.

The integration is aimed at enabling researchers to analyze high-volume gene expression data and perform biological pathway analysis.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.