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Bruker, Beckman Coulter, Invitrogen, PerkinElmer, Invitrogen, Luminex, ABI, NIH, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Russian Health Ministry, Thermo, Compugen, Sigma-Aldrich, Agilent


Bruker Posts 90-Percent Jump in Q1 Profit Despite Slight Revenue Slip

Bruker BioSciences this week posted a slight drop in first quarter revenues even though net income swelled by nearly 90 percent.

For the quarter ended March 31, revenues were $74.4 million, down less than 1 percent from the $74.9 million the company earned in the first quarter of 2005.

Bruker said that it spent $10.3 million on R&D in the first quarter, compared to $11 million in the comparable period last year.

Profit in the quarter rose roughly 90 percent to $776,000, from $417,000 in the year-ago period.

As of March 31, Bruker had $96 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Beckman Coulter's Q1 Revenue Slides 1 Percent as Profit Jumps 27 Percent

Beckman Coulter this week said revenues for the first quarter dipped slightly, while net income grew by over a quarter.

Beckman posted $560 million in revenues for the quarter ended March 31, a 1.2 percent decline from the $576 million the company earned in the same period of last year. The company attributed the decline to a change in instrument leasing policy.

Beckman said that it spent $55 million on R&D in the first quarter, compared to $48 million in the comparable period last year.

Net income for the quarter grew 27 percent to $41.4 million from $32.6 million in the year-ago period.

As of March 31, Beckman had $59 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Beckman said it expects second-quarter revenue to be between $620 million and $645 million, which would be improvements of between 0.3 percent and 4.4 percent above the $618.8 million the company posted for the second quarter last year.

Invitrogen to Spend $23.3M to Expand Scottish Facility; Will Become New Euro HQ

Invitrogen will spend £12.7 million ($23.3 million) to "consolidate" and "expand" its operations in Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, the nation's main economic-development agency, said this week.

Among the expansion is a plan to create a new global corporate research center in Inchinnan in the outskirts of Glasgow, which will also become Invitrogen's new European headquarters.

The move, which will be supported with a £4.3-million investment from Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen, will "potentially" create 45 new jobs and "safeguard" 555 existing Invitrogen positions in Scotland, Scottish Enterprise said. Asked whether the jobs had been in jeopardy, a Scottish Enterprise spokesperson said Invitrogen could have expended anyplace in Europe, but since it chose Scotland those positions will remain "safeguarded."

Terms of the expansion call for Invitrogen to "amalgamate" its current manufacturing and product-development sites across Scotland into the Inchinnan Business Park.

The base, which will be moved into a 90,000-square-foot facility, will become the firm's European headquarters, and will have additional resources for R&D, sales, finance, legal, and customer services functions.

The move will "enable the company to meet increased business demand in a more cost effective way and has the potential for future expansion," Bernd Brust, vice president and general manager of Invitrogen Europe, said in a statement.

An Invitrogen spokesperson said construction on the new facility will begin this summer, and it is slated to open in the fall of 2007. Invitrogen will finish transferring staff and operations at that time, the spokesperson added.

PerkinElmer's Q1 Revenues Decline Despite 2-Percent Organic Growth

PerkinElmer last week reported a 2-percent increase in first-quarter organic revenues, although the company's overall revenues declined slightly.

Revenue for the quarter ended April 2 dipped to $355.5 million from $358.2 million in the first quarter of 2005. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange and acquisitions, however, first-quarter revenue grew 2 percent year over year.

Revenues for PerkinElmer's Life and Analytical Sciences segment also fell slightly, to $261.9 million for the first quarter of 2006 from $264.8 million in the first quarter of 2005. The company said that organic revenues for this business unit also grew 2 percent compared to the prior-year period.

This increase "was driven by strong revenue growth in the company's genetic screening and service businesses, partially offset by a decrease in the biopharma business," PerkinElmer said in a statement.

Sales were nearly flat in the company's Optoelectronics business unit, which reported revenue of $93.5 million compared to $93.4 million in the first quarter 2005.

PerkinElmer's R&D spending rose slightly to $22.8 million from $22.6 million in the first quarter of 2005.

Net income increased 19 percent to $23.6 million from $19.8 million in the prior-year period.

PerkinElmer had $321.8 million in cash and cash equivalents as of April 2.

Invitrogen Posts 2-Percent Organic Revenue Growth in Q1 as Profit Stumbles; BioProduction Sales Slide

Invitrogen last week reported that first-quarter revenue grew 2 percent organically as R&D spending surged 37 percent and profits slumped dramatically.

Total receipts for the three months ended March 31 increased 11.5 percent to $309 million from $277 million in the year-ago period. However, organic growth was 2 percent as recent acquisitions positively impacted total growth by 13 percent and currency effects hurt it by 3 percent, the company said.

Invitrogen said its BioDiscovery unit grew 7 percent organically year over year, though revenue from the BioProduction unit declined 5 percent organically.

"While we're disappointed with our revenue performance in US Bioproduction and Japan, we are confident that specific actions are in place to impact the growth trajectory for these areas," Greg Lucier, chairman and CEO, said in a statement. He also said the company is "pleased" with the results in Europe, the US research, and emerging markets.

First-quarter R&D spending surged to $28.9 million from $21.2 million in the year-ago period.

Profit for the period slumped to $19.2 million, or $.35 per basic share, from $47 million, or $.82 per share, year over year. Invitrogen said the results were in part due to $0.21 per share in Q1 2005 income related to currency gains associated with its acquisition of Dynal and stock sale gains that did not occur in Q1 2006. Similarly, Q1 2006 earnings included $0.23 per share of higher costs associated with acquisition-related amortization and costs, business integration, and other factors.

Invitrogen said it had around $715 million in cash and investments as of March 31.

Luminex Posts 40-Percent Rise in Q1 Revenue, Swings to Profit; Shares Surge 17.5 Percent

Luminex last week said that first-quarter revenues increased 40 percent, R&D spending inched up 1.2 percent, and the company swung to a profit.

Total receipts for the three months ended March 31 increased to $13 million from $9.3 million in the year-ago period.

R&D spending more than doubled to $2.2 million from $1 million, Luminex said.

The company also said it turned a $526,000 profit, or $.02 per share, from a net loss of $298,000, or $.01, per share.

The company said the results "reflect an improved product mix with consumable revenue up 59 percent and royalty revenue up 50 percent compared with a year ago. The significant increase in consumable revenue and profitability in the first quarter is primarily the result of a higher than expected volume of consumable bulk purchases."

Luminex said it had around $24.6 million in cash and equivalents and $16 million in short-term investments as of March 31.

ABI's Fiscal Q3 Revenue Grows 8 Percent as Sequencing Stumbles and RT-PCR Shines

Applied Biosystems last week reported that fiscal third-quarter sales increased 8 percent as R&D spending declined 6 percent and profits surged 121 percent.

Total revenues for the three months ended March 31 increased to $490.7 million from $454.8 million in the year-ago period. Revenue from the firm's DNA sequencing segment declined 4 percent to $136.5 million, while mass spec sales jumped 9 percent to $113.9 million, core PCR and DNA synthesis revenue increased 4 percent to $51.7 million, and "other" product lines inched up 1 percent to $26.4 million.

Revenue from the RT-PCR and applied genomics segment surged 23 percent year over year to $162.2 million, though the increase was buoyed by revenue generated by an Ambion business ABI acquired March 1.

ABI said the Ambion assets contributed 1 percent to total third-quarter revenue and unfavorable currency valuations shed around 2 percent from the company's top line. Receipts also included around $14 million in licensing fees and royalty payments related to ABI's settlement with Bio-Rad Laboratories and its MJ Research business.

ABI said fiscal third-quarter R&D spending declined to $48 million from $51 million year over year.

Profits, however, surged in the period to $124.4 million, or $.67 per basic share, from $55.5 million, or $.28 per basic share. For the quarter, certain items decreased profits by a total of $5.4 million, ABI said. These items included a pre-tax charge of $35 million ABI paid as part of an agreement with Beckman Coulter to settle certain patent infringement claims against ABI; $33.4 million related to the Bio-Rad settlement; a $3.4 million pre-tax charge to write off certain parts of the Ambion acquisition; and a $900,000 "favorable" pre-tax adjustment for a previously recorded asset impairment.

The fiscal third quarter also included $63.3 million in tax benefits related to a completed IRS exam, a state valuation allowance reversal, and research and development credits, ABI said.

ABI does not disclose its balance sheet.

Looking ahead, the company said it expects revenue for the remainder of the fiscal year to grow in the mid-single-digit range. ABI said it expects revenue to continue to grow in its RT-PCR/applied genomics, mass spec, and core PCR and DNA synthesis product categories. The company also said it expects revenue to decline in DNA sequencing and "other" product lines.

NIH Awards Berkeley Researchers $1.6M to Develop Robots for High-Throughput Protein Crystallography

The US National Institutes of Health has awarded a $1.58 million grant to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop new robotic systems for high-throughput protein crystallography and related structural biology research.

The next generation of automounter robots "will offer enhanced capabilities of automated alignment, improved serviceability and robustness, and integrated machine vision capabilities," Thomas Earnest, who leads the development of the robots, said in a statement.

Earnest is a biophysicist with Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division, and he leads the school's Structural Proteomics Development Group. The group developed the first generation of protein crystal automounter robots with the bioinstrumentation group at Berkeley Lab's Engineering Division. Members of these two divisions will co-develop the new system.

PerkinElmer to Supply Neonatal Screening Tech to Russian Health Ministry

PerkinElmer said this week that it has signed a multi-year agreement with the Russian Ministry of Health to supply neonatal screening technology in the country.

PerkinElmer said the agreement follows a recent decision by the Russian Ministry to expand to five from two the number of standard tests in its national screening program, which will now also include screening tests for cystic fibrosis, adrenal hyperplasia, and galactosemia.

Under the terms of the agreement, PerkinElmer will provide multiple Russian laboratories with its DELFIA screening platform, including reagents, software, and instrumentation for screening those disorders, as well as for the existing tests for hypothyroidism and phenylketonuria.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Thermo To Lay Off 100 Employees in Massachusetts Plant Closing

Thermo Electron plans to "discontinue all manufacturing and distribution operations" at its Milford, Mass., facility, the company disclosed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week.

As a result, Thermo said it will lay off 100 employees.

The facility is part of Thermo's Life and Laboratory Sciences segment and primarily manufactures centrifuges, molecular biology products, vacuum concentrators, and power supplies.

The Milford plant's activities will be relocated to Thermo's facility in Asheville, NC, which it acquired as part of its Kendro acquisition last May.

Thermo said in the SEC filing that it expects restructuring charges associated with the plant closing of around $8 million, including $2.3 million of severance and related personnel costs and $3.2 million of abandoned facility costs.

Compugen's Q1 Revenue Slides By Nearly Half Though Loss Narrows

Compugen last week said that first-quarter revenue declined 58 percent as R&D spending decreased 22 percent and net losses shrank 19 percent.

Total receipts for the three months ended March 31 slipped to $200,000 from $481,000 in the year-ago period. Compugen said the decrease is "in line with [its] evolution to utilizing its scientific know-how and computational biology capabilities for the discovery of potential therapeutic and diagnostic products."

In a statement, Compugen said it has previously said that its "anticipated primary sources of future revenues" are milestone and revenue-sharing payments from licensing and other arrangements "covering the development and marketing of diagnostic and therapeutic products based on the [its] discoveries."

"Compugen anticipates that it will begin to receive such payments from its existing arrangements by the end of this year or early next year, and these revenues are anticipated to increase substantially in the following years as products based on Compugen-discovered molecules progress towards commercialization," the company said in the statement.

R&D spending for the quarter fell to $2.7 million from $3.5 million.

Net losses narrowed to $3 million, or $.11 per share, from $3.7 million, or $.13 per share, year over year.

Compugen said it had around $33.8 million in cash, equivalents, and marketable securities as of March 31.

Sigma-Aldrich Declares $.21 Per-Share Dividend

Sigma-Aldrich directors this week declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.21 per share.

The dividend is payable on June 15 to shareholders of record on June 1.

Agilent to Integrate GeneSpring Platform With ingenuity's Pathways Analysis Tech

Agilent Technologies will integrate its GeneSpring analysis platform with Ingenuity's Pathways Analysis technology, Ingenuity said this week.

The integration is aimed at enabling researchers to analyze high-volume gene expression data and perform biological pathway analysis.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.