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Aspira Biosystems Wins, Waters See 20 Percent Growth, Biosite Reports Higher Earnings


Aspira Biosystems Wins $108K SBIR Grant to Develop Protein Chip

Startup proteomics company Aspira Biosystems won a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health last week to help finance the development of protein microarray, the company said.

According to South San Francisco, Calif.-based Aspira, the $108,000 award will help it develop a sequence-specific protein chip based on its ProteinPrint technology. This technology, the company said, allows researchers to create “synthetic cavities” that recognize and bind to specific amino-acid sequences.

The SBIR grant is the full amount the firm requested, Aspira said.

Waters Sees 20 Percent Growth in Demand for Mass Spectrometers in Q3

Waters reported 6 percent growth in revenue for the third quarter of 2001 compared to the same period last year, but said it could not keep up with strong growth in orders for mass spectrometers during the quarter.

Customer demand for mass spectrometers grew over 20 percent, said Waters CEO Douglas Berthiaume in a statement, “reflecting continued strength in life science applications, including the fast-growing proteomics segment.”

The Milford, Mass.-based manufacturer of mass spectrometry, high performance liquid chromatography, and thermal analysis equipment reported earnings of 28 cents per share, in line with analysts’ estimates, according to a poll of broker conducted by First Call/Thomson Financial.

Biosite Reports Higher Earnings; Disruption in LSBC Antibody Partnership

Antibody manufacturer Biosite said last week that its revenue jumped to $17 million during the third quarter of this year from $14.4 million during the comparable period in 2000.

The San Diego-based company also reported an increase in operating expenses compared to the same period a year ago, from $11.6 million to $14.2 million. Net income was $2.1 million, or 14 cents per share, compared with 13 cents per share for the third quarter last year. The company’s earnings beat analysts’ estimates by 1 cent a share, according to a poll of brokers conducted by First Call/Thomson Financial.

Despite the favorable financial news, Biosite’s partnership with Large Scale Biology has suffered at least a temporary setback because of a licensing dispute with Xoma. In a statement accompanying the earnings release, Biosite CEO Kim Blickenstaff said that Large Scale Biology had recently suspended the delivery of protein targets pending further evaluation of the situation between Biosite and Xoma.

Biosite has an agreement with Large Scale Biology to manufacture 2000 antibodies for use in LSB protein arrays. In an interview earlier this month, LSB chief scientific officer Leigh Anderson said the dispute “was unlikely to affect us directly,” adding, “everyone in phage display is suing each other.”

On Sept. 27, a U.S. district court declined to grant Biosite a preliminary injunction barring Xoma from terminating licenses it had granted to Biosite for bacterial cell expression technology.


The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.