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Editor's Note: Sept. 16, 2004

The product has shipped, on time. Sounds like the lead paragraph for any one of the articles covered across the GenomeWeb network, but in this case, it’s describing this publication.

We launched last Thursday and spoke with our first customer, a managing director for an Austin, Texas, investment firm responsible for coverage of healthcare, biotech, and medical devices. Previously, he was director of business development for a molecular biology tools company and before that, an equity analyst on Wall Street.

BioCommerce Week reached the reader as he was leaving the office for the day, with our publication printed out for later reading. He said he would get back to us with a review. We look forward to hearing from him, as well as any feedback we receive from other readers.

This spot is intended to be a weekly conversation starter with readers who are working to manage the here-and-now demands of the molecular-biology tools industry and preparing for the next wave of change in how business is done in this field. We are determined to provide transparency in how we conduct our journalism, and to instigate conversations. Our e-mail address is appended to each story as an invitation to write. Please do.

Next week, BioCommerce Week will be in Boston for the Chips to Hits conference and to give a presentation on the business arguments for or against the implementation of data standards for microarrays. To be sure, when I accepted this engagement some six months ago, as editor of sister GenomeWeb publication BioArray News, the world looked a bit different. Today, from this post, I see large and compelling reasons for not only standardization, but for open platforms and true interoperability, as critical components to enable the vision of an overhead or systems view of molecular biology. The hard part, however, will be for businesses to embrace open platforms and find ways to add value and still remain commercially viable. That’s a question we will continuously ask as this market emerges.

Corrections: Last week’s edition incorrectly calculated the market capitalization for Bruker BioSciences. The company had a market cap of $317 million prior to the opening of the market on Wednesday.

Index: Bruker is one of 15 firms selected for the BioCommerce Week Index of Diversified Molecular Biology Tools Companies. For the week, Bruker finished at $3.43, up 3.94 percent over last week’s $3.30. Overall, the BCW Index finished at $31.71, up 2.02 percent over the first week’s $31.08.

Agilent Technologies was the big mover with an 11.6 percent increase, going from $20.18 to $22.51, while Invitrogen had a 10 percent increase, going from $48.87 to $53.68. Harvard Bio dropped 5 percent, going to $4.47 from $4.71, while Applied Biosystems dropped 2.5 percent, going to $18.33 from $18.81.

Inside: This week, BCW takes a look at the emerging mass spectrometry market, where the players are buying informatics companies to augment their product offerings, and offering wads of cash for more acquisitions. At least $1.55 billion in merger capital was waved in the air by Waters and Thermo executives at the Bear Stearns Healthcare Conference in New York on Monday.

This week, we look at the Integrated Biology Solutions unit at Agilent, speaking with its chief Fran DiNuzzo, for an inside look, and with Agilent CEO Ned Barnholt, for an overhead view of the company’s life sciences business.

We also have a graphic look ahead to what the molecular biology tools market could look like in three years and find it could be a $10 billion market. But, that is only a projection. Mileage may vary.

— Mo Krochmal ([email protected])

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