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Bruker, Vermillion, Sigma-Aldrich, MorphoSys, SynGene

Bruker BioSpin Acquisition Completed; BioSciences Reports Profits Up 44 Percent in Q4
The purchase of Bruker BioSpin by Bruker BioSciences has been completed, resulting in the formation of a new company called Bruker, the company said this week.
About 57.5 million new unregistered shares of Bruker’s common stock were issued for the stock component of the deal. At a closing price of $10.86 per share on Feb. 25, the stock portion of the acquisition was approximately $624.9 million.
The $1.01 billion deal was announced in December [See PM 12/06/07], though at the time the company valued the deal at $914 million.
The Laukien family, which had owned privately held BioSpin and 52 percent of Bruker BioSciences, now owns 69 percent of the combined company.
At a special meeting of shareholders held this week where non-affiliated shareholders approved the deal, Tony Keller and Dirk Laukien were also elected to the board of the new company.
The company also said this week that revenues for Bruker BioSciences during the fourth quarter rose 35 percent to $183.7 million from $135.6 million during the year-ago period, while profits rose 44 percent to $14 million, compared to $9.7 million a year ago.
Excluding the effects of foreign currency translation, revenue growth for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2007, was 26 percent. Net income for the quarter included after-tax charges of $4.3 million for expenses related to the purchase of the BioSpin business.
For full-year 2007, Bruker BioSciences posted revenues of $547.6 million, up 26 percent from $435.8 million for full-year 2006. Excluding the effects of foreign currency translation, revenues rose 19 percent, including 17 percent organic growth.
Profits increased 70 percent to $31.5 million for the year from $18.5 million in 2006. The 2007 figure includes an after-tax charge of $4.7 million related to the acquisition of the BioSpin business. The 2006 figure includes a $5 million after-tax charge related to the acquisition of Bruker Optics.
The company did not break out financials for the three divisions comprising BioSciences. In a conference call accompanying the release of its earnings results, Frank Laukien, president and CEO of Bruker, said that the Daltonics business, which houses its proteomics tools, experienced a “very, very strong fourth quarter” after a slow first half in 2007 with demand for high-end its LC-MS instruments increasing, mainly for small-molecule applications.

Nasdaq Threatens Vermillion with Delisting
Vermillion said this week it has again been told by the Nasdaq exchange that it does not meet certain listing requirements and could face delisting action.
In a letter from Nasdaq received last week, Vermillion was told that it is not in compliance with a rule that a company have at least $2.5 million in stockholder equity; $35 million in market capitalization; or $500,000 in net income from continuing operations for the most recently completed fiscal year or two of the three most recently completed fiscal years. 
Vermillion, formerly called Ciphergen, has until March 24 to regain compliance: if its market cap reaches at least $35 million for 10 consecutive business days before then, the exchange may determine Vermillion is in compliance. Otherwise, Nasdaq could begin action delisting its stock.
As of Thursday morning, Vermillion had a market cap of $30.5 million. Two weeks ago, shareholders approved a 1-for-10 reverse stock split, a move initiated by Vermillion to stave off possible delisting from Nasdaq [See PM 01/10/08].
During the summer, it was warned twice by Nasdaq that it failed to meet listing requirements [See PM 09/06/07 and 09/13/07].

Sigma-Aldrich, MorphoSys Forge Antibody Deal
Sigma-Aldrich and MorphoSys this week announced a collaboration to design, produce, and distribute recombinant research antibodies using the latter’s HuCAL Gold technology.
Sigma-Aldrich will identify and supply targets to MorphoSys, which will then develop and qualify unique antibodies from the HuCAL GOLD library. In a statement, the companies said the diversity of the library guarantees “fast and successful generation of high-quality antibodies to targets that have previously been difficult to probe with standard antibody-generation technologies.”
Sigma-Aldrich will make the antibodies available through its online sales platforms Antibody Explorer and Your Favorite Gene Search.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Syngene Installs First System in Singapore Research Center
Syngene said this week it installed its first G:BOX HR gel documentation system at the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Science on Jurong Island, Singapore.
The system was marketed and installed by Insta BioAnalytik, Syngene’s distributor in the region. It will be used to automate analysis of gel and blot imaging. G:BOX HR features a high-resolution camera inside its own light-tight darkroom and comes with overhead white lighting, a 20 centimeter-by-20 centimeter UV transilluminator and GeneTools, Syngene’s image-analysis software.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.