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Celera, Bruker BioSciences, PerkinElmer, Matritech, American Type Culture Collection, The Valley Hospital

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Celera Ratchets Down Proteomics Operations
 
In another sign of the volatile and precarious state of proteomics, Celera will be cutting back its proteomics research staff at its facility in Rockville, Md., as the company gradually evolves into a diagnostics developer, ProteoMonitor sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News reported this week.
 
Company spokesman David Speechly confirmed to GWDN that Celera is “trimming” its staff in proteomics research but would not provide details. The job cuts are part of a strategic shift that includes cutting out proteomics research but continuing to use proteomics resources for clinical development, he said.
 
“We have been reducing our resources” in Rockville, “and the small team there is more aligned to diagnostics” and the proteomics branch will “continue to be trimmed down,” Speechly said.
 
The remaining proteomics staff is still “working on licensing proteomics programs” and “applying proteomic discoveries to diagnostics and development,” Speechly said.  
 
Celera President Kathy Ordoñez said during the company’s fiscal first quarter conference call last week that Celera is “shifting funding from discovery to development, and we curtailed our proteomics-based target discovery and validation activities while we continue to fund diagnostic proteomics-based work.”
 
Speechly said he could not estimate how many proteomics researchers may get pink slips because Celera has not yet broken down how the restructured division will eventually shape up.
 
The disclosure comes soon after Celera bought two San Francisco Bay-area companies, including the $195 million pick-up of diagnostics company Berkeley Heartlab and the $33 million deal for Atria Genetics, including the $195 million pick-up of diagnostics company Berkeley Heartlab and the $33 million deal for Atria Genetics.
  
Speechly said that, over the long term, Celera’s increasing focus downstream could cause it to shift its presence from Maryland to the West Coast, though he stressed that this would not mean the company would close its Rockville facility.
 
Celera’s actions follow steps taken by Ciphergen, now called Vermillion, and Caprion Pharmaceuticals, now called Thallion Pharmaceuticals, to divest their proteomics businesses [See PM 08/17/06 and 01/11/07].
 
In the case of Vermillion, it sold off its SELDI platform to Bio-Rad Laboratories to concentrate on the diagnostics space, while Caprion merged with Ecopia Biosciences to form Thallion, an oncology and infectious disease company.

The scaling back of its proteomics research may also be an indication of further changes at Celera. In August, Applera, parent company to Celera and Applied Biosystems, said it had hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to look into strategic alternatives for both companies, including the possibility of spinning the two shops into independently traded public companies in place of the two tracking stocks they currently occupy for both companies, including the possibility of spinning the two shops into independently traded public companies in place of the two tracking stocks they currently occupy.

 

 
Bruker Profits Nearly Triple on 25 Percent Rev Rise
 
Bruker BioSciences this week said receipts had risen 25.5 percent to $131.6 million for the third quarter, pushing up profits 191 percent.
 
For the three months ended Sept. 30, net income rose to $8.7 million from $2.98 million during the year-ago period.
 
R&D spending rose to $14.8 million for the quarter from $11.9 million a year ago. As of Sept. 30, Bruker had cash and short-term investments of $38.9 million.
 
The company did not break out results for its separate divisions, though CEO Frank Laukien said that all of Bruker’s three divisions delivered double-digit growth year-over-year. Bruker BioSciences is composed of the Daltonics, which houses the company proteomics instruments, AXS, and Optics divisions.
 
“As we predicted, the high discrepancy, or the unusual discrepancy in growth rates that we’ve experienced between the three different businesses in the last few quarters is not gone entirely, there’s still some differences in growth rate even in the third quarter,” Laukien said during a conference call accompanying the earnings release. “Bruker AXS is still the fastest growing part of the company, but Bruker Daltonics, which had been not growing essentially for a few quarters, has certainly accelerated both in bookings as well as in revenue.” 
 
In a recent investor conference, Laukien acknowledged that weakness in its Daltonics division had forced it to look beyond proteomics for revenue growth. Two areas that have been singled out are small molecules and industrial mass spectrometry [See PM 09/13/07].
 

 
PerkinElmer Q3 Revs Grow 13 Percent
 
PerkinElmer last week said receipts had grown 12.6 percent to $435.7 million for the third quarter, compared to $386.9 million a year ago. Revenues for the company’s Life and Analytical Sciences division also rose 12.6 percent to $319.3 million from $283.5 million a year ago.
 
For the three months ended Sept. 30, net income reached $30.7 million, a 3.3 percent increase from the year-ago profit of $29.8 million.
 
The company’s Optoelectronics division posted sales of $116.3 million, compared to $103.4 million during the year ago period.
 
As of Sept. 30, PerkinElmer had cash and cash equivalents of $160.9 million. During the quarter R&D spending was $27.7 million.
 

 
Matritech Q3 Loss Increases 64 Percent Despite 41 Percent Rise in Revs
 
Matritech this week reported third-quarter revenues had reached $3.98 million, up 41 percent from $2.83 million for a year ago. Revenues for the three months ended Sept. 30 included $609,000 of previously deferred revenue from the termination of an exclusive license between Matritech and Sysmex.
 
Net loss, however, rose to $4.83 million, up 64 percent from $2.94 million a year ago. It included $2.84 million in interest expense, compared to $816,451 a year ago.
 
The company spent $506,867 in R&D. As of Sept. 30, Matritech had $2.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.
 
In August, Inverness Medical Innovations agreed to buy Matritech [See PM 09/06/07].
 

 
ATCC, NJ Hospital Partner on Pancreatic Cancer Biomarker Research
 
American Type Culture Collection this week said it will collaborate with The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ, to hasten the development of pancreatic cancer biomarkers.
 
ATCC will use a proprietary biomarker discovery platform incorporating proteomics, genomics, bioinformatics, and immunology in its research.
 
Under the agreement, the hospital will provide ATCC with “high quality and highly annotated tissue from patients who agreed to allow their resected pancreatic tumors to be used in future studies,” ATCC said in a statement. The hospital will also provide stored blood. The collaboration will focus on finding markers that enable early detection, therapeutic monitoring, and potentially treatment of pancreatic cancer.
 
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Scan

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Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.