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Fisher Scientific, Thermo, Ciphergen, Protagen, Biacore, Bio-Rad, Nexus, Bruker, University of York, Nonlinear


Investment Bank Downgrades Fisher's Stock on News of Thermo Merger

An investment bank downgraded shares of Fisher Scientific following the company's planned $10.6 billion reverse merger with Thermo Electron, announced this week.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, investment bank JP Morgan cut Fisher's stock to 'neutral' from 'overweight.'

"Our rating change reflects ... a belief that Fisher Scientific shares will now trade within a narrow range, tied closely to the performance of Thermo Electron, for the remainder of the year," a broker from JP Morgan said in a statement.

Ciphergen's Q1 Revenues Grow 6.3 Percent as Net Loss Narrows 41 Percent

Ciphergen reported last week that its first-quarter revenues grew 6.3 percent to $7.1 million from $6.6 million during the year-ago quarter, while its first-quarter net loss declined 41 percent to $5.5 million from $9.3 million during the first quarter of 2005.

Research and development costs dropped to $2.9 million from $3.5 million a year ago.

As of March 31, the company had $24.4 million in cash and cash equivalents. An additional $6.5 million is available under a loan agreement with Quest Diagnostics, Ciphergen said.

The company said in a statement that a shareholder class action suit that was brought against the firm in December was dismissed on March 29.

Protagen Closes $4.2M Financing Round

Protagen said this week that it has closed its second round of financing, raising €3.3 million ($4.2 million).

According to the protein biochip developer, the financing round included both new and existing investors. Proceeds of the financing will be used to expand the company's sales activities in Europe and the US, as well as to broaden its product pipeline.

Investors in the financing round included S-Venture Capital Dortmund and MIG AG Funds 1 and 3.

Biacore Posts Double-Digit Growth in Q1 Revenue, Profits

Biacore last week posted a 19-percent increase in first-quarter revenues accompanied by a 58-percent boost in net income.

As the Uppsala, Sweden-based company disclosed last month, sales for the quarter ended March 31 were "higher than expected," and increased to SEK 137.9 million ($18.8 million) from SEK 116.0 million in the comparable period of 2005.

The company attributed the revenue growth to "very strong performance in Europe and the Americas," where sales increased by 53 percent and 41 percent, respectively, offsetting a 61-percent decline in Asia-Pacific.

Biacore's net income for the quarter surged to SEK 18.9 million from SEK 12.0 million in the year-ago period.

The company's R&D spending increased to SEK 25.1 million from SEK 18.6 million in the first quarter of 2005.

Bio-Rad's Q1 Revenues Rise 3 Percent

Bio-Rad Laboratories last week reported first-quarter revenue of $308.3 million, a 3-percent increase over revenue of $299.2 million for the first quarter last year. On a currency-neutral basis, the firm's revenue rose 8.3 percent year over year.

Sales for its life science segment were up .5 percent, and 5.6 percent on a currency-neutral basis, to $144.8 million. According to the company, revenues rose on increased sales of amplification reagents and instrumentation, automated electrophoresis, and process chromatography products.

Bio-Rad's MJ Research unit resumed sales of its thermal cycler products during the quarter, following a settlement with Roche Molecular Diagnostics and Applera. Bio-Rad President and CEO Norman Schwartz noted during a conference call yesterday that the firm had resumed selling the thermal cycler with roughly six weeks left in the first quarter.

Sales for the company's clinical diagnostics segment rose 5.5 percent, or 10.9 percent excluding currency effects, to $160.3 million. The company credited the increase to growth in the blood typing, blood-virus screening, autoimmune testing, and diabetes monitoring product lines.

Bio-Rad's net income dropped 6.9 percent year over year to $31.2 million, or $1.19 per basic share, from $33.5 million, or $1.29 per share. Last year's Q1 results include $4 million, or $.15 per share in income from discontinued operations.

R&D spending climbed 4.9 percent to $28.1 million year over year.

As of March 31, Bio-Rad had cash and cash equivalents of $265.6 million.

Nexus, Bruker Renew Protein Crystallography Marketing Agreement

Nexus Biosystems said last week that it has renewed an existing agreement with Bruker AXS under which Bruker AXS will continue to globally market its Crystal Farm line of protein crystallography products.

The Crystal Farm product line includes a high-resolution imaging system as well as system-control and image-analysis modules.

Nexus Biosystems was formed in December 2005 by the management buy-out of certain assets from Discovery Partners.

Nexus acquired Discovery Partners' Crystal Farm automated protein crystallization business, as well as its IRORI chemical synthesis systems business and Universal Store compound storage systems business.

Discovery Partners and Bruker AXS initially entered into a distribution agreement for the Crystal Farm product line in 2003.

University of York Adopts Nonlinear's 2D Gel Analysis Software

Nonlinear Dynamics said last week that the University of York's biology department has licensed its TT900 S2S "SameSpots" 2D gel analysis technology and its Progenesis PG240 software.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.