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Bruker Daltonics, Ciphergen Biosystems, LSBC, Correlogic Systems, Quest Diagnostics, Laboratory Corporation of America, Oxford GlycoSciences, SurroMed, UC Davis, Pieris Proteolab


Bruker Reports Strong Q3, Considerable TOF/TOF Sales to Academic Institutions

Having spilled some of its goodies already in an October presentation at an investors’ meeting (see ProteoMonitor, 10-21-02), Bruker Daltonics formally reported last week that its revenues were up 22 percent for the third quarter. These revenues totaled $29.7 million, compared to $23.8 million in the third quarter of 2001. The company’s net income totaled $1.7 million, up from $925,000 in the previous year’s third quarter.

Bruker attributed the bulk of these revenues, which exceeded consensus estimates, to its strong mass spec sales — especially those of its UltraFlex MALDI-TOF/TOFs — around the world. “There’s just a very strong demand for TOF/TOFs worldwide this year,” said CEO Frank Laukien in a conference call to report the results. These sales included 10 TOF/TOFs the company sold to Roche this quarter.

But pharma isn’t the only revenue driver, Laukien said: Bruker is seeing a 50/50 split in sales of TOF/TOFs between academic and pharma-biotech customers. The company said its R&D spending was $5.1 million for the quarter, up from $4.8 million in Q3 of 2001. While Bruker has spent a large amount on R&D as a proportion of revenues, Laukien promised that this proportion would come down to “somewhere in the ten percent range” within a year’s time. He added that Bruker plans to introduce additional products at PittCon and ASMS in 2003.

The company held cash and short-term investments of $49.6 million as of September 30.


Ciphergen Enters Expanded Deal with Novartis; Q3 Revenues Swell

Ciphergen Biosystems announced last week a 90 percent increase in third-quarter revenues, and later said it had expanded its agreement with Novartis to conduct protein profiling studies.

Revenues for the quarter swelled to $10.2 million from $5.4 million one year ago. The company attributed this increase to a mix of sales from its ProteinChip systems, increased collaboration and other service revenue, and increased consumable revenue from its BioSepra division.

R&D spending also jumped to $6.0 million from $3.3 million in the third quarter of 2001. The company’s net loss widened to $7.9 million from $6.9 million year over year, Ciphergen said.

Meanwhile, the company announced it would use its SELDI ProteinChip systems and biomarker discovery centers to evaluate samples for Novartis. Ciphergen said the first project is a study with Novartis’ oncology business unit to compare serum samples of responder and nonresponder patients given candidate drug treatment.

Ciphergen has an installed base of 300 ProteinChip instruments, and said it has instruments at 15 pharmaceutical companies.

It had $51.6 million in cash, cash equivalents, and investments in securities as of September 30.


LSBC Q3 Revenues Plummet

Large Scale Biology of Vacaville, California, reported revenues of $700,000 for the quarter, a steep drop from the $5.1 million reported in the same quarter last year.

While the company did trim expenses by $3 million, to $7.6 million from $10.6 million in the third quarter of 2001, its net loss for the quarter still widened to $6.8 million, from $4.8 million in that period. LSBC attributed the revenue drop to the end of its research collaboration with Dow Chemical Company, which had provided the bulk of revenues for the year-ago period.

The company had a total of $27.3 million in cash and marketable securities as of September 30, down from $48.8 million in the third quarter of last year. At the current cash burn rate, the company has less than a year’s worth of cash.

However, not all is doom and gloom for LSBC: During Q3, the company signed a $12.3 million research contract with NIEHS and received a $2 million award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It also signed a licensing agreement with Agilent Technologies for its proteomics sample prep technology.


Correlogic Signs Quest, Labcorp for Ovarian Cancer Protein Pattern Test

Correlogic Systems of Bethesda, Md., announced that it has signed licensing agreements with Quest Diagnostics and Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings for the commercialization of its ovarian cancer protein pattern blood test.

Under the terms of the agreement, Correlogic will receive signing, milestone, and per-test royalty or service fees, as well as development fees for additional refinements to the technology.

Correlogic’s protein pattern blood test, developed using Ciphergen’s SELDI-TOF mass spectrometry system and published in The Lancet earlier this year, offers the prospect of accurate and early detection of ovarian cancer.

Correlogic is collaborating with the FDA/NCI clinical proteomics program to apply its proprietary technology to ovarian cancer diagnosis. NCI-sponsored clinical trials are scheduled to begin in April 2003. Once the clinical trials are complete, the test will be submitted to the FDA for approval for patient use. This same technology was recently shown to have potential use in the early detection of prostate cancer.


OGS Begins Study of Lead Compound

Oxford GlycoSciences has begun a Phase I study of its compound for glycosphingolipid storage disorders, OGT 923. The compound, an immunosugar and analogue of Zavesca, OGS’ investigational drug for Gaucher’s disease, has demonstrated efficacy and a pre-clinical tolerability profile in in vivo studies, according to the company.

The initial study is double-blind, in order to allow comparison to placebo for tolerability. An escalating dose design is being used to evaluate once- and twice-daily dose pharmacokinetics. This is the second immunosugar compound aimed at glucosphingolipid storage disorders that the company has brought into development.

“OGT 923 may be particularly suitable for studies in diseases with nervous system involvement, such as Sandhoff and Tay-Sachs disease,” said Chris Moyses, chief medical officer and development director of OGS.


SurroMed, UC Davis Put Heads Together in Search for Biomarkers of Autism

SurroMed and UC Davis’s M.I.N.D. Institute have signed an agreement to search for autism-related biomarkers, using the Mountain View, Calif., company’s technology. The Institute will provide clinical samples from children with autism, and SurroMed will analyze them with its proteomic, metabolomic, cytometric, and informatics tools. The aim of the research is to look for a genetic component of autism, initially looking at whether this component acts alone or in concert with environmental causes. Eventually, the partners hope to develop diagnostic tests to identify newborns likely to develop autism.


Pieris Proteolab Raises €12 million in Series A

Pieris Proteolab, a Freising, Germany-based company that engineers antibody-like ligand-binding proteins called anicalins, has raised €12 million in a Series A round of financing. Five new investors joined the round. These included lead investor Global Life Science Ventures, co-lead Gilde Investment Management B.V., BayTech Venture Capital, ABN AMRO Capital, and BioM Venture Capital. Previous investor TransConnect also participated.

The company said it plans to use the financing to enhance its internal discovery program, and to move forward preclinical studies in oncology, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.