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Laboratory Corporation of America, Third Wave Technologies, Innogenetics, Epigenomics, Biolog, LBNL, Celera Diagnostics, Applied Biosystems, Affymetrix, Gene Logic, Luminex, Nanogen, SynX, Zeptosens

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LabCorp Reports Drop in Per-Patient Receipts for Pharmacogenomic Tests

Laboratory Corporation of America this week said average per-patient revenues for genomics-based tests fell 6 percent during the first quarter, even as total revenue generated by these kinds of tests increased during the same period.

The average cost for genomic-based tests fell to $116 per patient from $123.40 per patient during the first quarter 2003. However, receipts for these tests totaled $69.4 million in the first quarter of 2004 compared with $67.7 million in the year-ago period.

There are almost 600 tests in this category, which represents 2.6 percent of LabCorp’s total revenues. They include analyte-specific reagents for cystic fibrosis, HIV resistance, human papilloma virus, and hepatitis C genotyping.

These per-patient costs were the sharpest drop in all of LabCorp’s billings for the first quarter 2004. By comparison, the average price charged for identity/probe tests fell 1.6 percent, while histology prices increased .7 percent, LabCorp reported.

A company spokeswoman told Pharmacogenomics Reporter that an oversupply of gene-based tests helped contribute to the per-patient decrease. She also blamed “consolidation in the industry” and a reduced need for testing in the first quarter.


Innogenetics to Distribute Third Wave’s Invader Tools in Europe

Third Wave Technologies said that Innogenetics will distribute its Invader technology throughout Europe.

Terms of the four-year deal call for Innogenetics to distribute certain Invader products related to genetic testing of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, blood coagulation, and healing disorders, the companies said.

Innogenetics, based in Gent, Belgium, may distribute other new genetics-related tests developed by Third Wave in the future.


Epigenomics Wins Funding from Germany’s Education Ministry

Epigenomics has received €1.1 million ($1.3 million) in funding for a three-year project from the German Ministry for Education and Research.

The project, which is estimated to cost €2.7 million, will involve the design and development of new techniques for high-throughput early cancer screening based on DNA methylation, the company said.

Academic collaborators on the project include the International University of Bremen and the Universität des Saarlandes.

DNA methylation is a crucial gene regulation mechanism, according to the company, and plays an important role in normal cell function. The company uses its HeavyMethyl technology to amplify aberrant DNA methylation patterns that may mark the presence of cancer.


LBNL Genomics Program Begins Using Biolog Phenotype Microarrays

Biolog’s new Phenotype MicroArray technology has been installed and is being used at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as part of LBNL’s Genomes to Life project, the company said this week.

LBNL researchers will use the technology to understand and characterize phenotypes of bacterial strains, particularly the sulfate-reducing species Desulfovibrio vulgaris. The phenotypic data will be compared with comparative genomic and microarray experiments at LBNL in order to rapidly deduce stress response pathways in metal and radionuclide bacteria.

According to Biolog, of Hayward, Calif., the Phenotype Microarray technology allows scientists to simultaneously test hundreds to thousands of traits in bacterial and fungal cells to determine changes in gene expression and the effects of drugs. The company is developing similar arrays using mammalian cell lines.


Celera Diagnostics Posts Greater Revenues, Narrowed Losses in Q3

Celera Diagnostics this week reported increased revenues and narrowed losses for its third quarter.

Total receipts for the period ended March 31 increased to $7.5 million from $4.3 million during the same quarter last year.

R&D spending in the quarter fell to $10.7 million from $11.7 million year over year. As a result, net loss decreased to $11.9 million from $12.6 million during the same period last year.


ABI Posts Q3 Revenue Rise Amid Stronger Earnings

Applied Biosystems this week reported increased revenues and earnings for its third quarter.

Total receipts for the three months ended March 31 increased to $439.6 million from $409.4 million during the same quarter last year.

Third-quarter revenues from DNA sequencing in the quarter fell to $137.5 million from $143.6 million year over year.

Additionally, sales of SDS and other applied genomics products jumped to $111.6 million from $86.8 million year over year; mass spectrometry revenues increased to $109.4 million from $93.3 million year over year; and core DNA synthesis and PCR stayed flat at around $50 million year over year.

R&D spending ion the period fell to $57.1 million from $60 million during the year-ago period.

ABI’s net earnings for the quarter were $46 million, or $.22 per share, up from $40.1 million, or $.19 per share, during the same period last year.

The company did not include its assets in its financial statement.


Affymetrix Q1 Revenues Jump, Net Loss Narrows

Affymetrix reported an increase in first-quarter revenues and a dramatic narrowing of its net loss compared to the year-ago quarter.

Total revenue for the period ended March 31 increased to $79 million from $67 million in the year-ago quarter.

Affy reported research and development expenses of $17 million, compared to $16 million for the same quarter in 2003.

First-quarter net loss fell to $1.9 million from $12.7 million for its first quarter 2003. The loss included a charge of $8.1 million after Affy redeemed a set of 4.75- and 5.0-percent convertible subordinated notes.

Affy said it had $40 million in cash and equivalents and $172 million in marketable securities as of March 31.


Gene Logic Reports Steep Increase in Revenues, Slightly Narrowed Net Loss

Gene Logic reported last week a steep increase in revenues and slightly narrowed losses for the first quarter last week.

Revenues for the quarter climbed to $20.2 million from $12.7 million during the same period last year. The company attributed most of this increase to revenues from Gene Logic Laboratories, formerly TherImmune Research, which it acquired last April.

R&D costs for the period ended March 31 decreased to $400,000 from $600,000 during the first three months of the year.

Gene Logic’s first-quarter net loss narrowed to $5.5 million from $5.8 million year over year.

As of March 31, Gene Logic had $110.8 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, of which $53.7 million was cash and cash equivalents.


Luminex Reports Rise in Q1 Revenues; Net Loss Narrows

Luminex’ revenues increased and its net loss fell during the first quarter, the company announced late last week.

Luminex said revenue for the period ended March 31 swelled to $9.3 million from $5.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

The company spent $958,000 on R&D during the quarter, compared to $831,000 for the same quarter in one year ago.

Net loss for the quarter shrank to $143,000 from $906,000 reported for the first quarter 2003. The loss excluded $1.8 million for the settlement of a lawsuit, which would have increased the loss to $2.7 million, Luminex reported.

Walter Loewenbaum, chairman of Luminex’s board, said the company “may still experience variability in its operating results,” but that he “hope[s] to be consistently profitable sometime in the second half” of the year.

The company had cash and cash equivalents of $37.5 million on hand as of March 31.


Nanogen Completes Acquisition of SynX

Nanogen has closed its all-stock acquisition of SynX Pharma, the company said last week.

As a result, San Diego, Calif.-based Nanogen will issue approximately 1.6 million shares of its common stock to SynX shareholders at an exchange ratio of 0.123 Nanogen shares per each SynX common share.

Additionally, Nanogen acquired CA$3.5 million ($2.6 million) of subordinated secured debentures of SynX in exchange for 300,000 shares of its common stock.

SynX, headquartered in Toronto, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Nanogen.


Zeptosens to Design Custom Protein Arrays for GlaxoSmithKline

Zeptosens will supply GlaxoSmithKline with custom-made protein microarrays, the companies announced this week.

Under the agreement, Zeptosens, located in Witterswil, Switzerland, will provide GSK with protein microarrays designed using GSK’s analytes and binding reagents.

GSK already owns a Zeptosens protein microarray analysis system, which is based on planar waveguide technology.

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