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Paradigm Genetics, Lexicon, ProMetic, Aldevron, Ira Herskowitz

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Paradigm Genetics Reports Fallen Q1 Revenue as Net Loss Narrows

Paradigm Genetics last week reported that first-quarter revenue fell to $4.1 million from $5.6 million during the same time last year. Income from commercial partnerships in the first quarter of 2003 shrank to $3.8 million from $5.6 million year over year, though Paradigm was able to book $228,000 in grant revenue in the quarter.

R&D spending for the period ended March 31 also decreased, to $5.8 million in the current first quarter from $7.6 million for the same time one year ago, according to Paradigm. Included in these numbers was $71,000 and $105,000 in stock-based compensation in the 2003 and 2002 periods, respectively.

Net loss fell to $4.1 million, or $.13 per share, from $5.2 million, or $.16 per share, year over year.

The company had roughly $11 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments as of March 31.


Lexicon Posts UpTicks in Q1 Revenue, R&D, and Loss

Lexicon Genetics last week reported that first-quarter revenue inched up to $8.1 million from $7.7 million year over year. Lexicon said receipts from collaborative research, which jumped to $5.0 million in the first quarter 2003 from $4.3 million in the same period last year, drove the revenue. Income from subscription and license fees in the quarter, however, fell to $3.1 million from $3.4 million.

R&D spending in the period ended March 31 increased to $19.8 million from $16.9 million in the first quarter last year, Lexicon said. Included in the R&D numbers was $1.3 million in stock-based compensation in both periods.

Net loss for the quarter swelled to $17.1 million, or $.33 per share, from $14 million, or $.27 per share, for the same time last year, Lexicon said.

The company had around $107.6 million in cash and investments as of March 31.


ProMetic, Aldevron Expand Collab To Develop DNA-Purification Tech

ProMetic BioSciences and Aldevron have expanded their collaboration to develop and market a new product that purifies gene-therapy and DNA-vaccine products, the firms said last week.

The agreement, which began in 2000, brings together ProMetic’s experience designing purification resins with Aldevron’s knowledge of plasmid DNA manufacturing, according to the companies.

Aldevron currently uses ProMetic’s Perflurosorb S to help it manufacture a West Nile Virus vaccine for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Perflurosorb S is normally used to remove impurities from DNA solutions, said Prometic, which is a Canada-based wholly owned subsidiary of ProMetic Life Sciences.

The new collaboration aims at developing Perflurosorb S-based procedures that can be used to produce high-quality DNA for vaccines and gene-therapy applications.

“We have demonstrated that Perflurosorb S can be used to ... produce endotoxin-free plasmid DNA, [and] to separate different forms of DNA,” said Michael Chambers, president and CEO of Aldevron. “The next step is to design reproducible procedures that can be used for any plasmid-DNA based product. This will represent a significant advancement in gene therapy manufacturing.”

Through the alliance, Aldevron will develop for ProMetic the DNA purification procedures to be used with the Perflurosorb product line, the companies said. Aldevron will also help ProMetic promote and sell the resin.


Renowned Pharmacogenomicist And Geneticist Herskowitz Dies

Renowned pharmacogenomicist Ira Herskowitz has died. He was 56. He died at his home April 28 of pancreatic cancer, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Herskowitz, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, conducted influential research on yeast cells that eventually uncovered how they could switch around their DNA.

Herskowitz was an undergraduate at the California Institute of Technology and went on to earn a PhD at MIT, the paper noted. Though he made “many key contributions” in the field of yeast genetics, he eventually became interested in pharmacogenomics.

A researcher for the Human Genome Project, Herskowitz, who played the guitar, wrote a song about the genome designed to teach lay people about their genes, SNPtech Reporter found. Here’s part of one verse:

“Well, it just so happens that inside of everyone there’s tiny plans to tell how the job’s to be done. They’re worth more to you than the family jewels they’re stored in the form of molecules.”

Herskowitz is survived by his parents, a sister, and two brothers.

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