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Pharmacopeia Delays PDD Spin-off; Reports Drop in Quarterly Earnings

Pharmacopeia last week said that the proposed spin-off of its Pharmacopeia Drug Discovery (PDD) unit — initially expected to close by the end of March — will now occur by the end of April. The company also said that its consolidated revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2004, was 34 percent lower than in the first quarter of 2003.

Pharmacopeia cited the “anticipated negative effect” of its new software licensing model, which recognizes revenues over the length of the license term, as a key factor in the revenue drop-off. Accelrys reported a 22 percent decrease in orders as compared to the 2003 first quarter — a shortfall attributed to “confusion regarding the change to the new subscription licensing contracts and some disruption associated with the planned spin-off of PDD.”

The company’s total deferred revenue — including unbilled orders — grew, however, to more than $47 million as of March 31, 2004 — a 19 percent increase over the level at March 31, 2003, the company said. Cash and cash equivalents also grew to more than $141 million as of March 32, from $134 million as of Dec. 31, 2003. PDD revenue for the quarter decreased approximately 28 percent as compared to the first calendar quarter of 2003.

John Hanlon, Pharmacopeia’s CFO, said in a statement that the company does not consider the first calendar quarter to be a good indicator of its actual performance over the balance of the year. “Consistent with this view,” he said, “we expect Accelrys orders for the period beginning April 1, 2004 and ending March 31, 2005 (the software division’s 2005 fiscal year) to increase modestly over orders for the twelve months ended March 31, 2004.” Due to the accounting for Accelrys’ new subscription license offering, however, the company expects revenue recorded for fiscal 2005 to be 12-15 percent lower than in the twelve-month period ended March 31, 2004.

Subject to final approval from Nasdaq, company stockholders, and the board of directors, PDD common stock will trade under the symbol “PCOP” upon completion of the spin-off, and Pharmacopeia will change its name to “Accelrys.” The company has already changed its ticker symbol to “ACCL.” [BioInform 03-01-04]


GE Exec: Amersham’s Informatics, Genomic Tools Have ‘Bright Future’ in Merged Entity

General Electric completed its £5.7 billion ($9.5 billion) acquisition of Amersham plc last week, and according to a company official who spoke with BioInform’s sister publication, GenomeWeb News, the merged company will continue to support the genomics technologies that were developed under the discovery systems and protein-separations units of Amersham Biosciences.

Trevor Hawkins, vice president of business development, said that informatics tools developed at Amersham Biosciences — as well as the MegaBACE sequencing platform, the CodeLink DNA chip, the TempliPhi DNA preparation kits, and other technologies — have “a very bright future” in the combined entity.

Following a short conference call announcing the formal integration of Amersham into GE, Hawkins said that GE officials have begun to consider how the company can “take the products and services ... in discovery systems and protein separations and begin to apply those in the market that are served on the other side of the business in the mainstream health-care market.” He said that informatics would be the key to bringing these two distinct sets of data together.

“We see that there’s going to be some great growth potentials here,” Hawkins said.


Gene Logic Signs Sankyo Renewal, NCI Contract

Gene Logic last week said it signed a renewal agreement with Sankyo for its information services and also entered into a seven-year, $6.9 million agreement with the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis to provide pre-clinical safety, and pharmacology studies.

The Sankyo agreement builds upon a subscription that the pharmaceutical firm established in 2001, but narrows the scope of the original license. Under the terms of the renewal, Sankyo has opted for a specific ToxSuite and a Custom BioExpress Suite, rather than full access to GeneLogic’s ToxExpress and BioExpress databases.

In the NCI agreement, Gene Logic will apply its toxicogenomics platform to the study of cancer, AIDS, and AIDS-related illnesses via “specific studies and services requested by the agency over the life of the agreement,” the company said.


GSK Renews SRS License

Lion Bioscience last week said that GlaxoSmithKline has renewed its license for SRS and SRS Objects.

GSK also expanded its SRS license to use the technology globally.

Financial details were not disclosed.

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