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Jai Nagarkatti, David Harvey, Avi Nash, Arnold Pinkston, William May, Dmitry Samarsky, Bruker BioSciences, Harvard Bio, PerkinElmer, GE Healthcare, Applied Biosystems, Thermo, Fisher, Beckman

People

Jai Nagarkatti has been promoted to CEO of Sigma-Aldrich, effective Jan. 1, 2006, and will become a member of the board of directors. He is currently president and COO, and will retain the title of president. He succeeds Chairman and CEO David Harvey, who will remain on the board of directors. Nagarkatti has been employed by Sigma-Aldrich for 29 years.

Sigma-Aldrich also announced that Avi Nash has been elected to the board of directors. Nash currently runs a management consulting firm named for himself. He previously served as a partner at Goldman Sachs, where he led the firm's investment research in global chemicals.


Arnold Pinkston has been named senior vice president, general counsel of Beckman Coulter, effective Nov. 15. Pinkston joins Beckman from Eli Lilly, where he has served as deputy general counsel since 1999. Previous to that position, he was general counsel of McKesson's PCS Health Systems business, which was sold to Lilly. Pinkston succeeds William May, who is retiring after 30 years as general counsel.


Dmitry Samarsky has recently been named director of technology development at Dharmacon. Previously, Samarsky was with Invitrogen, where he formulated partnership models and helped develop platform solutions for the drug discovery process, according to Dhamacon. Before that, he was with Sequitur, which was acquired by Invitrogen in late 2003.

 

BioCommerce Briefs

Bruker Returns to Profitability as Q3 Revenue Rises 6.3 Percent

Bruker BioSciences last week posted a profit in the third quarter as revenues increased 6.3 percent and R&D spending fell slightly.

Total receipts for the three months ended Sept. 30 increased to $70.7 million from $66.5 million year over year. Revenue from products increased 4.4 percent to $61 million in the quarter, service receipts improved 1.7 percent in the quarter to $8.7 million, and other revenues jumped 46 percent to $928,000, the company said.

Bruker said that third-quarter revenues from its Daltonics division jumped 7.8 percent year over year to $36.9 million, while receipts for its AXS business increased 4.9 percent to $33.9 million.

Third-quarter R&D spending declined to just under $10 million from $10.8 million in the year-ago period.

Bruker also posted a net profit of $1 million, or $.01 per share, from a net loss of $3 million, or $.03 per share, in last year's third quarter.

Frank Laukien, president and CEO, said in a company press release, "We continue to make progress with our various ongoing gross margin improvement initiatives and continued expense control, which resulted in improved profitability during the third quarter, both year-over-year and sequentially."

Bruker said it had around $95.3 million in cash and short-term investments as of Sept. 30, a nearly $18 million increase since the end of 2004. During the firm's third-quarter conference call, CFO William Knight said the improved cash position was driven by strong cash flow through the first nine months of 2005.

Asked during the call about demand for its products from traditional life science customers, Laukien said, "Demand is generally a mixed picture. Certainly the pharma/biotech industry so far this year has been not as strong as we would have hoped. But on the other hand, other industrial customers, their spending is reasonable. Demand from government continues to be good, with a bit of an uptick so far this year. We were somewhat concerned about a reduction in academic spending, but that has been offset, if there is any, by us having more access to medical schools."


Harvard Bio Q3 Revenue Rises, Net Income Falls Sharply

Harvard Bioscience last week reported a 4-percent increase in third-quarter revenues and a 31-percent drop in net income.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the company's apparatus and instrumentation unit, which it is retaining, brought in revenue of $17.2 million for the quarter, up from $16.5 million in the prior-year period.

Harvard Bio did not disclose revenue for its capital equipment segment, which it plans to divest and has classified as discontinued operations held for sale (see BioCommerce Week 8/4/2005).

During its third-quarter conference call, company officials declined to give an update on the status of the divestiture, saying they would provide information once a deal was struck.

The company posted net income of $661,000, or $.02 per share for the third quarter, down from $957,000, or $.03 per share, in the year-ago period.

Research and development expenses fell by 14 percent to $700,000 for the quarter from $800,000 in the same period of 2004.

The company ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $11.3 million.

Harvard Bio reaffirmed its fourth-quarter revenue guidance of $17 million to $18 million.


Class Action Suit Against PerkinElmer Dismissed

Plaintiffs have dismissed class-action and derivative lawsuits filed against PerkinElmer, the company said this week.

The suits, filed separately in July 2002 and June 2004 in US District Court in Boston, alleged PerkinElmer misled shareholders between July 2001 and April 2002 about the company's financial health. At the time, the company said it would contest the actions "vigorously."

"These allegations were, in our view, without merit," said Katherine O'Hara, PerkinElmer's general counsel, in a statement.

A class-action lawsuit against PerkinElmer and some of its officers was filed in July 2002 on behalf of shareholders who purchased the company's common stock between July 15, 2001, and April 11, 2002, according to the "Legal Proceedings" section in PerkinElmer's latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The plaintiffs alleged the management made misleading statements on the company's prospects and future operating results and sought an unspecified amount for damages. The suit claimed violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of Rule 10b-5 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Similar cases filed that month were consolidated in January 2003.

PerkinElmer tried unsuccessfully to have the suits dismissed in October 2003.

A purported derivative action filed against PerkinElmer officers and four of its directors in June 2004 also sought unspecified damages, according to the SEC filing. The plaintiffs accused the officers and directors of gross negligence, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty, of loyalty, of contract, and of duty. The complaint made similar allegations to the class-action suit, as well as that the individuals engaged in insider trading, and that the board failed to establish and maintain an adequate system of internal controls.

The cases were consolidated in March 2005.

The complaints claimed that PerkinElmer misled investors by saying revenues and earnings were growing when the company faced declining demand in its Optoelectronics division, increasing expenses as a result of acquisitions and divestures, and millions of dollars of obsolete inventory, according to a statement released in July 2002 by the lawyers representing the plaintiffs.

PerkinElmer revealed first-quarter earnings and fiscal year 2002 earnings on March 1, 2002, that were lower than represented three weeks prior, according to the same statement. In addition, PerkinElmer insiders sold off 595,000 shares of common stock for $18.4 million prior to April 11, 2002, when the company revealed further details on declining earnings. PerkinElmer also acquired Packard Biosciences in November 2001 using its stock as currency.


PerkinElmer Wins Approval to Amend Notes

PerkinElmer also announced that it has received the requisite consents approving its cash tender offer for outstanding notes.

The company first announced the cash tender offer for any and all of its 8 7/8-percent Senior Subordinated Notes due 2013 on Oct. 25. As part of the offer, PerkinElmer solicited noteholders' consents to amend certain provisions of the notes and conditions under which the notes were issued.

Approximately 96 percent, or $260 million, of the $270 million outstanding principal amount of notes, have been tendered by the deadline, which was Nov. 7 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

The notes' purchase price, determined today but not disclosed, is a "fixed spread" price, calculated using a yield equal to a fixed spread of 50 basis points plus the yield to maturity of the 3.000 percent US Treasury Note due Feb. 15, 2008. The price includes a consent payment that is equal to $20 per $1,000 principal amount of the notes.

The tender offer expires at 9:00 a.m. EST on Nov. 23.

PerkinElmer has retained Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking and Goldman Sachs as the dealer managers and Global Bondholder Services Corporation as the depositary and information agent for the offer.


Arbitrator Awards Damages to GE Healthcare in Dispute with ABI

Applied Biosystems said last week that an arbitrator has sided with Amersham Biosciences, now GE Healthcare, in the companies' dispute over a licensing agreement related to DNA sequencing reagents and kits.

Amersham had alleged, among other things, that ABI had underpaid on royalties under the license deal. The arbitrator has awarded Amersham past damages based on an increase in royalty rates for certain DNA sequencing enzymes and kits that contain those enzymes, plus interest, fees, and costs in an amount to be determined.

ABI said it will record a pre-tax adjustment of approximately $20.4 million to its previously reported first-quarter fiscal 2006 results as a result of the decision, but that its fiscal year 2006 outlook will not be impacted.


Thermo Calls China No. 2 Market, Expands Footprint with New Service, Lab Center

Thermo Electron has opened a new customer service and demo laboratory center in Shanghai, China, the company said this week.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company said that China has now become the company's second-largest market worldwide, representing more than 5 percent of its overall revenue.

The 43,000-square-foot facility will also house sales and marketing personnel and technical support and service for the region, Thermo said.

Thermo in December 2004 opened a 90,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Shanghai that is slated to produce 10 products initially. Thermo also operates a manufacturing facility in JinQiao and has commercial locations in Beijing and Hong Kong as well as a newly opened office in Guangzhou.

Thermo also has commercial offices in Kunming, Chengdu, and Shenyang.


Fisher's Q3 Revenues Grow 13 Percent, Profit More Than Doubles

Fisher Scientific today reported a 12.7-percent increase in revenues, and more than doubled its net income for the three months ended Sept. 30.

Fisher's revenues for the third quarter rose to $1.4 billion from $1.26 billion in the same period a year ago.

Net income also surged to $94 million, or $0.77 per basic share, from $36 million, or $0.36 per basic share in the year-ago period.

Fisher Scientific had approximately $189.2 million in cash and cash investments as of Sept. 30.

The company did not report R&D expenditures for the quarter.


Beckman Upgraded by Bear Stearns

Bear Stearns last week upgraded Beckman Coulter's stock to "outperform" from "peer perform" on its recent positive Q3 results.

Beckman Coulter had a 2-percent increase in third-quarter revenues of $593.4 million.

Shares in Beckman Coulter jumped 6.6 percent, or $3.25, to close at $52.75 on Nov. 2, after the company announced its results. The stock has continued to rise, closing at $54.94 on Tuesday.

The Scan

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.

Just Breathing

A new analysis suggests that most Mycobacterium tuberculosis is spread by aerosols from breathing, rather than by coughing, the New York Times reports.

Just Like This One

NPR reports that the World Health Organization has hired a South African biotech company to recreate mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 that is similar to the one developed by Moderna.

Slow Start

The Wall Street Journal reports that Biogen's Alzheimer's disease treatment had revenues for July through September that totaled $300,000.