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Caprion, AstraZeneca, Beckman Coulter, Consorta, Beckman Coulter, PerkinElmer, EU, Compugen

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Caprion Partners with AstraZeneca on Prostate Cancer Targets

Caprion and AstraZeneca will collaborate to develop therapies for prostate cancer, Caprion Pharmaceuticals said this week.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca will evaluate prostate cancer drug targets discovered by Caprion and obtain exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize therapeutic applications for selected targets. Caprion will retain rights to other targets.

AstraZeneca will pay Caprion an unspecified amount for up-front payment and license fees. The company will make additional payments contingent on its meeting certain development and commercialization milestones.


Beckman Coulter Licenses Clinical Lab Tests to Consorta; Deals Worth $105M Over Five Years

Beckman Coulter will provide Consorta its chemistry, immunoassay, hematology, and automation product lines, the company said this week.

The three contracts are worth approximately $105 million over the next five years to Beckman. Consorta also extended its hematology agreement with Beckman, valued at $10 million a year, for two more years, Beckman said.

The contract provisions include the company's new line of UniCel systems, such as the DxC 600 and 800 chemistry analyzers, the DxI 800 Access immunoassay system, and the Power Processor automation system, said Robert Kleinert, an executive vice-president at Beckman Coulter, in a statement.

Consorta will also have access to nearly 200 different reagent kits.


Beckman Coulter Q3 Revenues Grow 2 Percent as Income Drops Nearly 40 Percent

Beckman Coulter this week said that its third-quarter sales grew by a 2 percent, while net income fell 38 percent.

Total worldwide sales for the three months ended Sept. 30 inched up to $593.4 million from $581.2 million in the same quarter last year. The company reported that $591.7 million of total sales for the quarter were organic, while $1.7 million could be attributed to currency.

The Fullerton, Calif.-based company also said that sales in the US remained even compared to last year, but that international sales grew by 3.8 percent.

Net income in the third quarter fell to $36.2 million from $57.2 million year over year, the company said, resulting in basing earnings being reduced to $0.58 per share from $0.93 per share.

Beckman Coulter said that the company incurred $19.2 million in special charges during the quarter, mostly due to "impaired receivables and leased equipment" related to Hurricane Katrina — which cost the company $4.9 million — and "the non-cash write off of intangible assets of discontinued robotic automation product" from the discontinuation of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy testing initiative, which cost Beckman $13.4 million.

The company added specifics to a plan to reorganize the company, as reported by ProteoMonitor's sister publication GenomeWeb News on July 22, signaling its intent to "close at least three facilities, sell two parcels of real estate, harvest or discontinue mature product lines," reduce 350 positions, and streamline the company's physical distribution.

Beckman Coulter president and CEO Scott Garrett said in a statement that he expects the lay-offs will result in a benefit of up to $2 million in the fourth quarter of this year, as well as "$15 million of annual savings in 2006, growing to $20 million of annual savings in 2007 and beyond."

Garrett also offered a preliminary outlook on 2006. Beckman is now expecting total 2006 sales to be $2.5-$2.6 billion. He added that the company's decision to favor operating-type leases over sales-type leases for instrument placements may reduce sales over 2005 and 2006 as the change in policy is implemented.

"Our original range for the impact of the leasing policy change on sales through 2006 was $200 to $220 million," Garrett said. "We now expect the change to reduce revenues by $190 to 200 million over the implementation period, which will be split about evenly between 2005 and 2006."

Beckman Coulter spent $51.6 million on R&D in the quarter, compared to $51.5 million in the same quarter last year.

As of Sept. 30, the company held cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments, and restricted cash totaling $59.3 million.


PerkinElmer Obtains $350M Revolving Loan; Cash Could Fund M&A, Alliances

PerkinElmer obtained a $350-million unsecured revolving credit facility, the company said this week.

The five-year loan, which replaces a previous $100 million facility, will be used for "general corporate purposes," such as working capital, refinancing, capital expenditures, share repurchases, acquisitions, and strategic alliance, said PerkinElmer.

The facility was jointly made with Banc of America Securities and Citigroup Global Markets.


EU Awards $10.8M to Form Network of Excellence on Biological Research

The Commission of the European Union awarded €9 million ($10.8 million) to establish a virtual institute for biological research, the European Bioinformatics Institute said this week.

ENFIN, or the Experimental Network for Functional INtegration, will combine 20 computational and experimental biology labs across 17 institutions in 13 counties to make computational systems biology accessible to European scientists. While applicable to any area of biological research, the network will focus on the regulation of cell division.

While there's an open-access database for almost every type of biological information, the average biologist struggles to access the data, the institute said.

"Researchers will be able to go straight to the public data that they want, combine it with their own unpublished data and perform truly integrated analyses using data from different types of experiments," said the institute's Ewan Birney, who will coordinate ENFIN.

ENFIN will incorporate both "wet" and "dry" biologists whose expertise spans database architecture, data analysis tools, and experimental molecular biology.


Compugen Reports 22-Percent Slide in Q3 Revenue, Names New CEO

Compugen said this week that revenues for the third quarter declined 22 percent while net losses remained flat.

The company also said it has named Alex Kotzer president and CEO. He started on Sept. 1.

Total revenues for the three months ended Sept. 30 fell to $761,000 from $971,000 year over year. About 87.5 percent of the amount, or $666,000, came from "governmental and other grants," said Compugen

Third quarter R&D spending increased slightly to $3 million from $2.8 million in the previous year.

The company reported that net loss remained flat for the quarter, at approximately $3.6 million, or $.13 per share.

As of Sept. 30, the company had $29.9 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.