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Aclara, Virologic, Exelixis, CombiMatrix, Furuno Electric, American Academy of Microbiology, Caliper Life Sciences, Ciphergen


Aclara Posts Uptick in Q2 Revenues as Losses Decrease; Acquisition By Virologic Still On

Aclara Biosciences last week reported an uptick in second-quarter revenue amid significantly decreased R&D spending and a narrowed net loss.

The company, which is slated to be acquired by ViroLogic during the fourth quarter [see 6/304 PGx Reporter], generated $515,000 in receipts for the three months ended June 30 compared with $405,000 in the year-ago quarter.

Second-quarter R&D spending shrank to $2.7 million from $4 million year over year.

Largely as a result, net loss decreased to $4.9 million, or $.13 per share, from $5.1 million, or $.14 per share, during the second quarter last year.

Aclara, based in Mountain View, Calif., said it had around $81.9 million in cash, equivalents, and marketable securities as of June 30.

Exelixis Reports Decrease in Q2 Revenue Atop Widened Loss; June Lay-Offs Played Role

Exelixis last week reported a decrease in second-quarter revenue atop greater R&D spending and a significantly widened net loss.

Total receipts for the three months ended June 30 fell to $12.6 million from $13 million year over year. Exelixis blamed the fall-off on the end of a collaboration with Protein Design Labs, but said receipts were offset by milestone revenue from a drug target deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

R&D spending inched up to $34.4 million in the second quarter this year from $32.5 million one year ago, according to the company.

Net loss swelled to $29.3 million, or $.41 per share, from $23.4 million, or $.39 per share, in the year-ago quarter. Exelixis said $1.7 million of the increase was due to “termination benefits” following a round of lay offs the company initiated in June. On June 30, the company laid off 62 people, or 11 percent of its workforce, mainly from R&D. Exelixis said it expects the cuts to save it “at least” $5 million for the balance of the year and $10 million in 2005 and “beyond.”

Exelixis, based in South San Francisco, Calif., said it had around $170.3 million in cash, equivalents, and short-term investments as of June 30.

The company said it expects revenue for the third quarter to be between $11.5 million and $12 million, and plans to end the year with $180 million in cash, equivalents, and short-term investments.

CombiMatrix, Furuno Pen Microarray Synthesizer Development Deal

CombiMatrix has entered into a multi-year alliance with Furuno Electric to design, engineer, and build CombiMatrix’s Bench-Top DNA Microarray Synthesizer for its CustomArray microarrays, the firms said this week.

The firms will also co-develop a commercial Bench-Top Synthesizer instrument that will synthesize DNA microarrays at core facilities, pharmaceutical and biotech research sites, and academic microarray centers, said CombiMatrix.

Under the deal, Furuno, based in Hyogo, Japan, will pay CombiMatrix an initial fee of $1 million, as well as development and milestones payments.

More ‘Diverse’ Microorganisms Need to Be Sequenced, Says Microbiology Report

Genomic studies, including sequencing research, should be extended to include a more diverse array of microorganisms, according to a recent report.

The report, released last week by the American Academy of Microbiology, said that this additional research may help scientists uncover a “Rosetta Stone” sequence for pathogens. This knowledge, in turn, could ultimately expedite the control and prevention of many diseases.

“Genomics has had a profound and lasting impact on the study of pathogens and disease, to the extent that it is difficult to imagine what the science would be like today in the absence of genomics,” said Richard Roberts, the chair of a colloquium convened by the Academy in Key Largo, Fla., which was the basis of the report.

Sequencing the genomes of viruses and bacterial pathogens have become a first priority when investigating outbreaks and emerging infectious diseases, a report stated.

According to the report, more than 100 bacterial pathogens and 1,000 viruses have been sequenced since the first completed genome of a pathogenic bacterium was announced in 1995. The genomes are used globally to track and identify new diseases such as SARS, and have revolutionized the study of older diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis.

Scientists recommended greatly increasing the library of genomes to include not only pathogenic microorganisms, but also sequences of their hosts, and sequences of their non-pathogenic relatives.

Improvements are also needed in the annotation of genomic methodologies and in sequence databases, the report said.

A copy of the report can be found here.

Caliper says Q2 Revenue Grew, Losses were Flat

Caliper Life Sciences today reported a 222 percent gain in second-quarter revenues, driven by sales from Zymark, which the firm acquired in July 2003.

Total revenues for the three months ended June 30 surged to $18.9 million from $5.9 million one year ago.

R&D spending fell to $6 million in the second quarter this year from $8.8 million year over year.

Second-quarter net losses were flat for the Hopkinton, Mass.-based company, which came in at $9.5 million. The losses include a $2.4 million restructuring charge related to future lease costs of facilities no longer occupied following consolidation of its Mountain View, Calif., operations. The results also included $180,000 in severance charges and related benefits incurred in connection with the elimination of 14 positions.

Caliper finished the quarter with $52.9 million in cash, equivalents, and short-term marketable securities.

Ciphergen Stock Downgraded By Second Bank in Two Months

Merriman Curhan Ford today downgraded Ciphergen shares to ‘sell’ from ‘neutral,’ the the brokerage and investment bank said.

The downgrade comes as Ciphergen shares continue to slide after the company reported lackluster sales during the second quarter.

The downgrade is the second in as many months to hit Ciphergen: Piper Jaffray on July 1 downgraded the stock to ‘underperform’ from ‘outperform.’

Shares in the protein chip company were trading down 3.15 percent, or $.09, at $2.77 on the Nasdaq exchange late Wednesday morning. The shares closed at $4.10 on July 30. Ciphergen issued its second-quarter earnings after the market closed that day.

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