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Applera CEO Predicts Healthy Growth for ABI's Proteomics Arm Through Fiscal '08

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Demand for its newest mass spectrometers and strong pharmaceutical spending are expected to fuel revenue growth in Applied Biosystems’ proteomic division over the next couple of years, CEO of parent company Applera said during an analyst and investor meeting this week.
 
Speaking at the Bear Stearns 19th Annual Healthcare Conference in New York, Tony White cited strong growth in the company’s proteomic division and outlined its priorities for the next few years.
 
In particular, White said, ABI has been seeing healthy market penetration by its newest mass spectrometers, and in the near term the company will continue to focus on expanding its reach in that market.
 
Though White did not mention it by name, he was likely referring to ABI’s 4800 MALDI TOF/TOF mass spectrometer, introduced in May 2005 which was singled out by ABI officials during a conference call in July accompanying its fourth quarter earnings for its strong sales.
 
He said ABI continues to see strong growth in the use of its mass specs in the applied markets as well as in proteomics-based applications. White did not elaborate
 
Looking ahead, White said that for the three-year period that will end in fiscal 2008, ABI’s proteomic and small molecule division, which includes mass spectrometers and proteomics consumables aimed at the life science research and pharmaceutical market, is expected to grow in the mid- to high-single digits, percentage-wise. Growth is expected to be fueled by strong spending by drug companies and the applied markets, White said.
 
During the same period, White said the molecular and cell biology division will grow in the low- to mid-single digits with expectations tempered by a conservative outlook for government-funded research in the US, Western Europe, and Japan.
 

“This division continues to generate growth in excess of its overall market and has benefited from quite a number of new innovative products and offerings over the years as well as success in the new emerging applied markets.”

The division, ABI’s largest, includes sequencing products, real-time PCR, and its TaqMan platform for life science and pharmaceutical applications.
 
The division with the strongest revenue growth potential, measured by percentage growth, is expected to be ABI’s applied markets division, which includes real-time PCR, sequencing products and mass spectrometry aimed at forensics, biosecurity, and quality and safety testing, according to White.
 
He said the division is expected to experience double-digit growth during the three-year period, “which makes this segment particularly attractive and it’s also the market that is the least penetrated today by our products, so it presents us with some great new growth opportunities”
 
White did not have projections for the firm’s fourth division, global service and supply chain.
 
His presentation served to flesh out comments made by company officials during ABI’s fourth-quarter conference call in July that alluded to strong sales of its mass spectrometers and proteomics-related tools as one factor in the company’s 9-percent revenue growth during the quarter [See PM, 07/27/06]. 
 

White also pointed to protein biomarkers as a potentially strong revenue grower, but did not provide specifics. “Biomarkers continue to be an area of growing interest for pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers,” White said.

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