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Industry Briefs: Feb 5, 2009


Thermo Fisher: Analytical Technologies Down 1 Percent, Total Revs Up 1 Percent

Thermo Fisher Scientific this week reported a 1-percent revenue decline in its Analytical Technologies segment during the fourth quarter of 2008 while overall receipts inched up 1 percent.

Revenue in Analytical Technologies, which houses the company’s mass spectrometry operations, slid to $1.14 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2008, compared to $1.15 billion a year ago.

Total revenue rose to $2.65 billion during the quarter, up from $2.62 billion a year ago. Currency translation lowered revenue by 4 percent year over year, while acquisitions increased revenue by 1 percent.

Net income for the quarter expanded by 21 percent to $290.2 million from $239.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Research-and-development spending was $60.9 million during the quarter.

For full-year 2008, Analytical Technologies recorded $4.47 billion in revenue, up 6.9 percent from $4.18 billion a year ago.

Total revenue for 2008 grew 8 percent to a record $10.50 billion, compared to $9.75 billion in 2007, with currency translation contributing 1 percent to the growth and acquisitions increasing revenue by 2 percent.

Profits rose to $994.2 million, a 30.6 percent increase from $761.1 million in 2007. The company spent $249.1 million on R&D during 2008.

Thermo Fisher said it had $1.28 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 31.

Looking ahead, Marijn Dekkers, president and CEO of the company, said in a statement that the economic climate is expected to continue restraining capital budgets. Currency exchange is also expected to negatively impact the company’s results. As a result, revenue for full-year 2009 is projected to decline between 2 percent and 5 percent to $10 billion and $10.3 billion.

Agilent, NUI Open MS Facility

Agilent Technologies and the National University of Ireland, Galway, this week announced the opening of a Biological Mass Spectrometry Facility on the NUI Galway campus.

The center is equipped with Q-TOF and triple-quadrupole instruments from Agilent, and will focus primarily on proteomics, genomics, lipidomics, and metabolomics research. The university will provide Agilent application notes and data for key applications using the company’s platforms.

The facility will also showcase new instruments from Agilent and run samples for demonstration purposes. David Finn, Niclas Karlsson, and Brendan Harhen will run the facility.

The collaboration between NUI and Agilent results from Agilent’s Academia Program, which facilitates collaborations with colleges and universities.

NHLBI Seeks Proteomics Technology Development Proposals

The National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is seeking proposals for the development and enhancement of new proteomics technology for better understanding of pathways, molecular interactions, and regulatory signals.

Each NHLBI Proteomic Center contractor will integrate expertise in multiple disciplines to advance proteomics applications in heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders. Each contractor will identify and address a specific clinical need, problem, disease, or process using three components that make an interactive team — proteomic technology development; mechanistic and functional understanding of the proteome, its interactions, and dynamics; and clinical application of proteomic approaches and discoveries.

Clinical areas of interest include but are not limited to transplantation, cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure, and myocardial ischemia.

A proposal intent response is due April 20. Proposals are due May 20. Federally funded research development centers are not eligible for participation. The solicitation can be found here.

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ACS Starts Option for Quicker Publication

Researchers publishing in the Journal of Proteome Research will now have the option of having their work published online within three days of acceptance, under a pilot program begun by ACS publications, which publishes JPR. ACS is the publishing arm of the American Chemical Society.

“Just Accepted” was announced this week and covers other ACS publications including ACS Chemical Biology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Pharmaceuticals.

After being peer-reviewed and accepted for publication, “Just Accepted” manuscripts will be posted online prior to technical editing, formatting, and author proofing. They will appear in full as PDF documents accompanied by an HTML abstract and will be accessible to all readers until replaced by the final edited manuscript, posted as an ASAP article, ACS said in a statement.

Roche, Genedata Extend Biomarker Discovery Collaboration

Roche has extended a license agreement with Genedata for the Refiner mass spectrometry module of the Expressionist biomarker platform, Genedata said this week.

The Refiner MS module is aimed at supporting large-scale proteomics and metabolomics programs, and it performs automated preprocessing of data, which it then delivers ready for analysis or for storage.

The extension is for three years. Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Fluorotechnics is Now Gelcompany

Australian fluorescent labels firm Fluorotechnics this week changed its name to Gelcompany.

The corporate holding company and its name on the Australian Stock Exchange will remain Fluorotechnics, however.

The company acquired the Gel Company, based in San Francisco last year, when it went public. In 2007 Fluorotechnics bought German firm Elektrophorese-Technik. Combining the three companies under one name “reflects the orientation to provide complete solution rather than off-the-shelf products from different companies in different countries,” CEO Duncan Veal said in a statement.

BioGenes Now Part of European AD Effort

BioGenes said this week it has been chosen to be a partner in cNEUPRO, an EU-funded project to analyze neurodegenerative diseases and discover novel biomarkers for the early and differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

BioGenes will provide laboratory services and personnel to develop specific monoclonal antibodies against novel neurochemical dementia biomarkers in blood and cerebrospinal fluid that have been identified during the project. The biomarkers may have therapeutic potential as well as diagnostic applications, the company said in a statement.

Nineteen biotech and bioinformatics firms and clinical and proteomics dementia research centers are part of cNEUPRO, which will establish European standard operating procedures and neurodegenerative disease reference centers in Portugal and Hungary.

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Arcxis Completes Pt. 1 of Series B Financing

Arcxis Biotechnologies last week announced it has completed the first close of its Series B financing.

The company did not disclose the amount that was raised. Claremont Creek
Ventures led the round and was joined by Kaiser Permanente Ventures and Alafi Capital.

The company said the money will be used toward developing, testing, and commercializing its nucleic acid sample preparation platform and its next-generation molecular diagnostics platform. In an e-mail, a company official said the platform uses blood without any pretreatment to interrogate targets for the diagnosis of infectious agents, cancer markers, and/or disease monitoring.

The company’s platforms isolate, identify, and characterize proteins and genes, enabling faster, more accurate, and more economical diagnosis of infectious diseases marked by proteomic and genetic changes, such as cancer, Arcxis said in a statement. The products can also be used for environmental and epidemiological applications.

Transgenomic, Power3 Complete Biomarker Agreement

Transgenomic and Power3 Medical Products this week said they have finalized their collaborative agreement for the exclusive rights to Power3’s neurodegenerative protein biomarkers.

The two firms signed a letter of intent in December.

The deal grants Transgenomic exclusive rights in the US and certain international rights to markers including NuroPro, a proposed diagnostic marker for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Transgenomic will pay Power3 an undisclosed upfront license fee, milestone payments, royalties, provide development funding and resources.

Transgenomic will offer the NuroPro test in its CLIA-certified molecular diagnostics laboratory.

Oxford Expression, Eden Sign Co-marketing Agreement

Oxford Expression Technologies and Eden Biodesign announced a co-marketing agreement this week that will provide Eden customers access to OET’s range of baculovirus-based protein expression products and services.

In return, OET customers will have access to Eden’s process development, clinical trial cGMP manufacturing, and analytical development services.

Oxford Expression specializes in the use of the baculovirus expression vector system, a eukaryotic expression system that can express a large variety of recombinant proteins. Eden provides development and manufacturing services to biotech companies. Both companies are based in the UK.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.