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Invitrogen, DNAVision, Eppendorf, Digene, Asuragen, Illumina, WVU, CombiMatrix Molecular Dx, GE Healthcare, CST, AstraZeneca

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Invitrogen Reports Increased Q1 Revenues Despite Soft Sales

Invitrogen this week issued preliminary first-quarter 2006 earnings showing a 12-percent jump in revenues to $309 million. The company said sales from its US Bioproduction and Japanese business units were slower than expected during the quarter.

The firm widened its full-year 2006 guidance to between $1.3 billion and $1.355 billion from a range of $1.33 billion to $1.355 billion. The company changed its estimate in order to take first-quarter sales numbers into account, as well as to anticipate the discontinuation and sale of some business units.

During the fourth quarter of 2005, the last period for which detailed financial data were available, Invitrogen posted revenues of $325 million, on a GAAP basis, compared to $262 million for the similar quarter in 2004.

The company's net income for the fourth quarter was $50 million in 2005, compared to $30 million in the year-ago period.

Invitrogen increased fourth-quarter R&D spending to $27 million, versus $20 million in the fourth quarter of 2004.

The firm's BioDiscovery unit, which held its molecular technologies until that division split in December into Life Sciences and Enabling Technologies, experienced a jump in sales of 25 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005, compared to the year-ago period. However, the company did not break out detailed figures for its business units.

Invitrogen had $751 million in cash and investments as of Dec. 31, 2005.


DNAVision Becomes First European Lab to Offer Services on Eppendorf DualChip Arrays

DNAVision has become a service provider for Eppendorf's DualChip microarrays, the company said earlier this month.

The deal makes DNAVision the first European lab to provide services for low- to medium-density microarray testing, and "completes very well our actual gene expression offer using high density microarray and real time PCR," Jean-François Laes, microarray unit manager at DNAVision, said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The DualChip platform is used in the US Food and Drug Administration's MAQC (MicroArray Quality Control) project.


Digene to Distribute Asuragen's CF Screening Products Worldwide

Digene will market and distribute cystic fibrosis screening products made by Asuragen, the newly formed molecular diagnostic company spun out of Ambion, the partners said this week.

Terms of the exclusive, worldwide deal call for Digene to make an up-front payment to Asuragen, and to make additional payments based on regulatory milestones.

Asuragen will also develop its next-generation CF test, Signature CF Expand, which will broaden the mutation panel to include ethnic-specific mutations that can be adapted for use in carrier screening and may find additional utility for neonatal and newborn testing. Digene will also distribute this product exclusively and worldwide.

In addition, Digene will have the first right of refusal on future genetic test products developed by Asuragen. The Signature products use the Luminex xMAP technology.

Asuragen was formed after Applied Biosystems acquired Ambion's RNA business in March.


Illumina Posts 93-Percent Jump in Q1 Revenue as R&D Grows and Losses Decline

Illumina this week reported a 93-percent increase in first-quarter revenues atop greater R&D spending and a narrowed net loss.

Total receipts for the three months ended April 2 increased to $29.1 million from $15.1 million year over year, Illumina said. Receipts from its three sources of revenue increased across the board year over year, with product revenue increasing 91 percent to $23.3 million, service and "other" receipts increasing 96 percent to $5.3 million, and research revenue increasing 97 percent to $574,000.

Illumina said R&D spending increased 39 percent in the first quarter to $8.2 million from $5.9 million.

Net loss in the period declined to $104,000, or $.00 per share, from $1.2 million, or $.03 per share.

Illumina said it had around $49 million in cash and investments as of April 2.

The company also updated its guidance for the second quarter and the remainder of the year. For the second quarter, the company now expects total revenue to be between $31 million and $33 million, an increase of between 96 percent and 108 percent, year over year.

For the full year, Illumina now said it believes total revenue for 2006 will be between $130 million and $140 million, an increase of between 77 percent and 90 percent year over year.

The company also said that excluding the effect of non-cash stock compensation expense, R&D spending in 2006 as a percentage of total revenue is expected to decline, but will increase in whole terms to between from $30 million and $35 million from $27.7 million year over year.

Illumina also said it expects to be "at least" cash flow breakeven this year. "Working capital requirements and spending on capacity expansion will be the key drivers of cash flow in 2006," the company said in a statement.


WVU Buys Affy System for $300K; Plans Work on Diabetes, Stroke, Brain Disorders

The University of West Virginia has invested $300,000 on a microarray platform from Affymetrix, according to a local news report.

The Dominion Post in Morgantown, W. Va., reported last week that WVU recently purchased the system with the intent of studying diabetes, strokes, and brain disorders. The equipment was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the WVU Health Sciences Strategic Research Plan and private donations to the WVU Eye Institute, the report stated.

Sepideh Zareparsi, an assistant professor at the WVU Eye Institute, said she will use the platform to research diabetic retinopathy, which is known to cause blindness.

Thomas Saba, associate vice president for WVU health sciences' research and graduate studies outlined some areas of interest at WVU, noting that West Virginians are prone to several conditions that have a genetic component, including diabetes, obesity, stroke, and diseases of the brain and nervous system, the report stated.


CombiMatrix Molecular Dx Adds CAP Accreditation to CLIA Certification

CombiMatrix Molecular Diagnostics has been awarded an accreditation by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists, the company's parent firm Acacia Research said last week.

The accreditation, which is based on the results of a recent inspection of the CombiMatrix Molecular Diagnostics' laboratory in Irvine, Calif., follows the company receipt of laboratory certification through the federal government's CLIA program in March.


GE Healthcare's Q1 Revenues Climb 10 Percent as Profit Grows 21 Percent

GE Healthcare's revenues for the first quarter of 2006 climbed 10 percent, and the segment's earnings increased 21 percent, General Electric reported last week.

For the quarter ending March 31, GE Healthcare had $3.7 billion in revenues, up from $3.3 billion during the same quarter in 2005.

GE Healthcare's earnings for the quarter amounted to $496 million, up from $409 million in the first quarter of 2005.

General Electric's total revenues for the quarter were $23.5 billion, up from $21.4 billion during the same period last year. The company reported $4.3 billion, or $.41 per share, in total earnings for the quarter, up from $4 billion, or $.37 per share, during the same quarter in 2005.

GE Healthcare did not break out its research and development expenses for the quarter.

As of March 31, GE had $53.6 billion in cash and marketable securities.


CST, AstraZeneca Ink Third Phosphorylation-Profiling Deal

Cell Signaling Technology has signed a third agreement with AstraZeneca to continue providing the drug maker with phosphorylation profiles and prospective biomarkers of kinase-targeted lead compounds, the company said last week.

CST announced similar agreements this January and in June 2004.

According to its most recent statement, it will use its PhosphoScan technology to provide AstraZeneca with information that could enable it to clinically develop biomarker assays for target validation and therapeutic kinase inhibitors.

CST also said that it has recently added methods for serine/threonine kinase PhosphoScan profiling to its capabilities.

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