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Ciphergen, Waters, NIH, Luminex, Applied Biosystems, Jerini Peptide Technologies, Tata Consultancy Service, Omega Protein


Ciphergen Stock Loses Ground Gained on News of BioSepra Divestiture

Shares in Ciphergen lost some of the ground ground they gained early Thursday afternoon on news that the company sold its BioSepra Process Division to PallThe stock was trading up 1.64 percent at $3.72 after reaching a high of $3.90 soon after Ciphergen said it was selling the technology to the East Hills, NY-based separation and filtration company.

The BioSepra business develops, manufactures, and markets chromatography sorbents for protein purification. Eric Krasnoff, chairman and CEO of Pall, said the business "fit[s] in well with our significant market position in drug discovery and protein purification."

"Our goal is to provide total fluid management to our customers in industrial protein purification," Krasnoff said in a statement today. "This purchase fulfills a key strategic area for Pall. BioSepra has always had an excellent reputation for the quality of its sorbents and the addition of their chromatography media to our product offerings is highly complementary for our company."

The sale is expected to close in 45 days, the companies said.

The two companies also said they will co-develop and co-promote Ciphergen's SELDI ProteinChip technology "as a bridge between the research lab and large scale drug production." The firms plan to use the technology "to optimize chromatography resin selection for protein purification," they said in a statement.

William Rich, president and CEO of Ciphergen, said the collaboration is intended to "speed process development ... for protein purification and expression optimization and process monitoring."

In addition, Pall said it plans to establish Process Proteomics Service Centers based on Ciphergen's existing Process Proteomics Service Centers to help its customers choose and optimize sorbents and membranes for protein purification used in therapeutic protein production. The addition of these sorbent technologies will enable Pall to provide a highly integrated solution for the bioprocess separations market.

Ciphergen said it will retain "certain limited rights to access BioSepra's chromatography sorbent technology for manufacture, use and sale in the research and diagnostic markets."

Waters Posts 15-Percent Surge in Q3 Sales; US, Asia Markets Help Growth

Waters reported this week a 15-percent spike in third-quarter sales across its product portfolio, resulting in increased revenues and earnings.

Total receipts for the quarter ended Sept. 30 totaled $264.8 million, up from $230.4 million during the same period one year ago. These results reflect strong demand from US and Asian pharma and industry for all Waters products, as well as improved business conditions in Europe, according to the company.

Third-quarter R&D spending increased to $17 million from $15.1 million last year.

Waters’ net income for the quarter increased to $51.9 million, or $.43 per basic share, from $36.4 million, or $.30 per basic share.

As of Oct. 2, Waters had $471.2 million in cash and cash equivalents.

NIH Sets Aside $5 Million for Certain Proteomics Research Projects in ‘05

The National Institutes of Health last week issued an RFA requesting research proposals related to membrane protein production and structure determination.

Under the program, the NIH plans to commit about $5 million during 2005. The number of projects receiving funding will depend on the number of requests made.

According to the NIH, National Institute of General Medical Sciences is accepting applications for a program funding the “development of innovative methods for production of membrane proteins, production of proteins in sufficient quantities for study, and structural studies of membrane proteins.”

According to the NIH, researchers’ “understanding of the structure, function, and mechanisms of integral membrane proteins has been limited by the paucity of available high resolution structures.”

As a result, the institute is looking for project proposals involving “novel approaches to cloning, expression, oligomeric assembly, solubilization, stabilization, and purification of membrane proteins [that will] advance the production of structurally and functionally intact membrane proteins suitable for structural studies.”

The agency is also looking for innovative “methods for structure determination, including crystallization, phasing, isotopic labeling, and collection of x-ray crystallographic, nuclear magnetic resonance, and other relevant data,” the RFA said.

Te NIH also said it is seeking proposals for projects designed to “obtain preliminary data in support of regular investigator-initiated research projects and to conduct structural studies of integral membrane proteins.”

Letters of intent for those seeking funding are due by Dec. 23. Applications are due by Jan. 24, 2005.

With Revenues and Losses Up, Luminex Sets Date for Report on Corporate Assessment

Luminex reported last week an increase in third-quarter revenue and widened net loss.

The company also said it plans to release results of a strategic assessment of the business on Dec. 8.

“We are working hard to create a focused business, and one better suited to generate long-term shareholder value,” Patrick Balthrop, president and CEO, said in a statement.

Revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 increased to $8.4 million from $7.1 million year over year. The Austin, Texas-based molecular biology tools company recorded $4.3 million of revenue from the sale of 177 Luminex systems and $2.1 million from consumables.

R&D spending also increased, to $900,000 in the third quarter from $700,000 in the year-ago period.

Net loss widened to $1.2 million for the period, or $.04 per share, from $800,000, or $.03 per share, year over year. Luminex said it had around $36.3 million in cash and equivalents.

Strong RT-PCR, Mass Spec Sales Drive Applied Biosystems’ Q1 Revenue; Sequencing Declines

Applied Biosystems reported this week an increase in revenues and income for its fiscal first quarter, driven by growing sales of its real-time PCR and other applied genomics products, while DNA sequencing revenues declined.

Total revenues for the three months ended Sept. 30 increased to $390.3 million from $382.7 million during the same period last year. Revenues from real-time PCR and other applied genomics soared to $111.8 million, from $94.3 million last year. Mass spectrometry sales also increased, totaling $89.1 million compared to $82.4 million last year.

Revenues from the three other product categories declined: DNA sequencing revenues sank to $116.1 million from $124.8 million; core DNA synthesis and PCR revenues declined to $47.4 million from $51.2 million, and revenues from other product lines fell to $25.9 million from $30 million.

R&D spending amounted to $51.1 million for the quarter, down from $59.6 million during the year-ago period. This decrease resulted from ABI’s recent alignment of its R&D product portfolio, the company said.

ABI’s net income for the quarter was $37.1 million, or $.19 per basic share, up from $33.4 million, or $.16 per basic share, for the year-ago quarter. Part of this increase — $800,000 — was due to income from a patent-infringement settlement and from the termination of a joint development agreement with Illumina.

Jerini Peptide Technologies Wins Slot in Virginia Biotech Incubator

Jerini Peptide Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berlin-based pharmaceutical company Jerini, will establish its first US operations at the Farifax County BioAccelerator business incubator in Virginia, the company said this week.

Jerini Peptide Technologies manufactures and markets tools and arrays made from synthetic peptides for use in biomedical research and drug discovery.

JPT said it gained the right to enter the BioAccelerator after edging out eight German biotechnology companies in a 2003 Farifax County Economic Development Authority business plan competition.

Indian IT Firm and Israeli Proteomics Shop to Develop Lead Compounds for Pharma

Tata Consultancy Services of Mombai, India, and Israeli pharma BioStrx will co-develop lead drug compounds, the companies said last week.

The companies will collaborate on protein crystallization and structure determination to provide optimized lead compounds.

Tata Consultancy Services is a software developer and information technology consultancy. BioStrx provides protein crystallization and proteomics services.

Omega Protein Announces Completion of New Health and Science Center in Virginia

Omega Protein, a Houston, Texas-based company that manufactures fish oils containing long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, announced last week that its new health and science center in Reedville, Va., dedicated to processing fish oils, has been completed.

The new center includes a food-grade fish oil processing facility with equipment that allows the company to refine, bleach, winterize and deoderize all available menhaden fish oil from the Atlantic coast.

This is an improvement upon Omega Protein’s old facility which could only process 35 percent of the available fish oil, the company said.

In Reedville facility provides automated packaging and on-site refrigerated storage capacity. In addition, the new center has a fully-equipped lipids laboratory for research and development of Omega-3 enriched foods.


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