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Fisher, Thermo, GenTel, Abnov, Compugen, PerkinElmer, Bio-Rad, BD, ALSA, Affibody, NCI, TEDCO, Ariadne Genomics, Whatman


Fisher's Q3 Revenues Grow 13 Percent as Profit More Than Doubles

Fisher Scientific this week reported a 13-percent increase in revenues, and more than doubled its net income for the three months ended Sept. 30.

Fisher's revenues for the third quarter rose to $1.4 billion from $1.26 billion in the same period a year ago.

Net income also surged to $94 million, or $0.77 per basic share, from $36 milllion, or $0.36 per basic share in the year-ago period.

Fisher Scientific had approximately $189.2 million in cash and cash investments as of Sept. 30.

The company did not report R&D expenditures for the quarter.

Thermo Calls China No. 2 Market, Expands Footprint There With New Service, Lab Center

Thermo Electron has opened a new customer service and demo laboratory center in Shanghai, China, the company said this week.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company said that China has now become the company's second-largest market worldwide, representing more than 5 percent of its overall revenue.

The 43,000-square-foot facility will also house sales and marketing personnel and technical support and service for the region, Thermo said.

As ProteoMonitor's sister publication BioCommerce Week reported in May, Thermo in December 2004 opened a 90,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Shanghai that is slated to produce 10 products initially. Thermo also operates a manufacturing facility in JinQiao and has commercial locations in Beijing and Hong Kong as well as a newly opened office in Guangzhou.

Thermo also has commercial offices in Kunming, Chengdu, and Shenyang.

GenTel, Abnova to Co-develop Custom Immunoassays

Gentel will combine its custom multiplex immunoassay development service with Abnova's high-throughput protein and antibody content-manufacturing capabilities, Gentel Biosurfaces said this week.

GenTel's PATH Protein MicroArray System is based on ultra-thin nitrocellulose surface chemistry developed specifically for antibody arrays.

GenTel, which is privately held, will develop and offer multiplex immunoassays using protein content from Abnova, the company said.

Taiwan-based Abnova specializes in high throughput, in vitro wheat germ protein expression and monoclonal antibody production.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Compugen Discloses Diagnostic, Therapeutic-development Timelines for '06-'07

Compugen expects to develop products during the next two years based on initial discoveries, the company's CEO said this week at a conference.

Speaking at the Rodman & Renshaw Techvest 7th Annual Healthcare Conference, held here this week, Martin Gerstel said Compugen over 2006 and 2007 will be developing products based on the first wave of discoveries in immunoassay diagnostics, nucleic acid diagnostics, and therapeutic protein candidates. The company is also looking for a proof of concept for a new technology platform.

Product development agreements for immunoassay diagnostics, the company's most advanced product area, have already been signed with three diagnostic companies, such as BioSite.

Nucleic acid diagnostics are "about a year behind our immunoassay activities," said Gerstel. The company expects to negotiate nucleic acid development and commercialization agreements beginning in the second half of 2006. Partners for therapeutic protein candidates will also be signed during the second half of 2006, according to Gerstel.

While focusing on product development in the next two years, Compugen will continue discovery activities targeted at cancer and cardiovascular diseases. A significant area of expenditure within R&D would focus on in vitro and in vivo activities for the therapeutic protein pipeline. The company also expects to demonstrate a proof of concept for a new platform that can be achieved within 9-12 months and addresses a bottleneck in drug discovery.

"The further development and commercialization of this new platform would be the subject of a major collaboration with a pharma or biotech partner," Gerstel said.

Class-Action Suit Against PerkinElmer and Its Officers Dismissed

Plaintiffs have dismissed class-action and derivative lawsuits filed against PerkinElmer, the company said this week.

The suits, filed separately in July 2002 and June 2004 in US District Court in Boston, alleged PerkinElmer misled shareholders between July 2001 and April 2002 about the company's financial health. At the time, the company said it would contest the actions "vigorously."

"These allegations were, in our view, without merit," said Katherine O'Hara, PerkinElmer's general counsel, in today's statement.

A class-action lawsuit against PerkinElmer and some of its officers was filed in July 2002 on behalf of shareholders who purchased the company's common stock between July 15, 2001, and April 11, 2002, according to the "Legal Proceedings" section in PerkinElmer's latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The plaintiffs alleged the management made misleading statements on the company's prospects and future operating results and sought an unspecified amount for damages. The suit claimed violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of, and Rule 10b-5 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Similar cases filed that month were consolidated in January 2003.

PerkinElmer tried unsuccessfully to have the suits dismissed in October 2003.

A purported derivative action filed against PerkinElmer officers and four of its directors in June 2004, also sought unspecified damages, according to the SEC filing. The plaintiffs accused the officers and directors of gross negligence, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty, of loyalty, of contract, and of duty. The complaint made similar allegations to the class-action suit, as well as that the individuals engaged in insider trading, and that the board failed to establish and maintain an adequate system of internal controls.

The cases were consolidated in March 2005.

The complaints claimed that PerkinElmer misled investors by saying revenues and earnings were growing when the company faced declining demand in its Optoelectronics division, increasing expenses as a result of acquisitions and divestures, and millions of dollars of obsolete inventory, according to a statement released in July 2002 by the lawyers representing the plaintiffs.

PerkinElmer revealed first quarter earnings and fiscal year 2002 earnings on March 1, 2002, that was lower than was represented three weeks prior, according to the same statement. In addition, PerkinElmer insiders sold off 595,000 shares of common stock for $18.4 million prior to April 11, 2002, when the company revealed further details on declining earnings. PerkinElmer also acquired Packard Biosciences in November 2001 using its stock as currency.

Bio-Rad's Q3 Sales Increase 9.4 Percent as R&D Spending, Profits Climb

Bio-Rad Laboratories last week reported a 9.4-percent increase in net sales for the third quarter, which it attributed to strong sales in protein-expression analysis, process chromatography, diabetes monitoring, blood virus screening, and quality control products.

Net sales for the quarter ended Sept. 30 increased to $283.2 million from $258.8 million for the third quarter last year.

R&D spending in the quarter increased 8 percent to $28.7 million from $26.6 million during the same period last year.

Third quarter income from continuing operations was up 158 percent to $16.2 million, or $.62 cents per share, from $6.2 million, or $.24 per share, during the same period last year.

As of Sept. 30, BioRad had $244 million in cash and cash equivalents.

BioRad said that sales in its life science business could be hurt by a lawsuit against Applera and Roche that prevents the company from selling its MJ Research line of thermal cycling products acquired in August 2004.

Sales in life sciences could be reduced by as much as $10 million to $15 million during the fourth quarter due to a lawsuit, and pre-tax operating profit could be reduced by $8 million to $10 million compared to prior expectations, the company said.

BD Reports Strong Fiscal Q4 Revenue Growth; Shares Climb 9 Percent

Becton Dickinson reported last week 10 percent revenue growth in its fiscal fourth quarter, and a positive outlook for the next year. However, 7 percent of that growth was organic while the remaining 3 percent was due to favorable currency exchange rates.

Total revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 increased to $1.4 billion from $1.2 billion year over year. Of the three segments, BD Medical accounted for slightly more than half of total revenues, at 55 percent. BD Medical's total fourth-quarter revenues increased 11 percent to $762 million.

The BD Diagnostics segment saw its total revenues for the quarter increase 8 percent to $403 million. Growth in this segment was spurred by strong international sales, which outperformed the United States.

In the BD Biosciences segment, total quarterly revenue increased 12 percent to $214 million. Research instrument and reagent sales continued to be primary growth contributors, the company said.

Geographically, U.S. revenues increased 9 percent to $687 million over the previous quarter, and international revenues increased 11 percent to $692 million. All business segments gained from favorable exchange rates and the company estimated a 3-percent benefit from foreign currency translation for the quarter, the company said.

R&D spending for the fourth quarter increased 30 percent to $76.5 million from $58 million.

"Performance such as this will allow us to increase the pace of our R&D spending while also targeting double-digit earnings growth," Edward J. Ludwig, BD's president and CEO said in a statement.

BD also posted a profit of approximately $149 million, or $.60 per share, from approximately $67 million, or $.27 per share during last year's fourth quarter. BD expects "earnings will grow by approximately 10 percent" for fiscal year 2006, said Ludwig.

The company did not break out its cash on hand.

ALSA Renews Funding for Biomarker Project

A consortium including researchers from Metabolon has received funding to continue research to find biomarkers that indicate the presence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the ALS Association said last week.

The organization did not release actual figures for individual projects, said Mark Yard, from ALSA's research department.

The award will last one year, beginning Nov. 1 and ending Oct. 31, said Metabolon's Stephanie Ferrell.

The ongoing project has already produced a candidate panel of molecules in body fluids that differ between people with the disease and controls. Researchers identified a set of 19 proteins.

Researchers will continue testing samples with a focus on cerebrospinal fluid, since the highest level of biomarkers may occur there, and seek proteins and metabolic biomarkers that are specific to ALS.

Metabolon previously received funding from ALSA in February 2004 to find biomarkers that indicate the presence of ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease. Metabolon has also received grants from NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke since the beginning of 2004.

The consortium includes researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Metabolon, Duke University, and University of Pittsburgh.

Affibody and NCI to Develop Molecular In Vivo Imaging Agents

Affibody and the National Cancer Institute plan to co-develop conjugates with Affibody molecules to be used for in vivo imaging, the Swedish company said this week.

The agreement combines Affibody's internally developed technology with the US National Institute of Health's conjugation systems.

Affibody will develop engineered Affibody molecules specific for HER2, a receptor protein sometimes over-expressed in breast and ovarian cancers. NCI will conjugate the engineered molecules with detection molecules for evaluation.

Additional details were not disclosed.

TEDCO Funds Ariadne Genomics With $75K for Pathway Simulation Software

Maryland Technology Development Corporation has allocated $75,000 in early-stage funding for Ariadne Genomics to help it develop biological pathway-simulation software, Ariadne Genomics said this week.

The funding comes through TEDCO's Maryland Technology Transfer Fund, the company said.

The PathwaySolver tool is designed to calculate concentrations of biochemical compounds for different times and conditions and simulate the dynamics of biological pathways, according to the company.

"Pathway simulation module will be integrated with our PathwayStudio and PathwayExpert products to expand their functionality and better suit the needs of researchers," Ilya Mazo, president of Ariadne Genomics, said in a statement.

French Law Enforcement Will Continue Using Whatman's FTA Cards

French law enforcement agencies will continue using Whatman Indicating FTA Cards to collect and transport buccal cell samples for forensic investigations, the company said this week.

The agreement with the French police and French Gendarmerie Nationale extends the original relationship, begun in 2000, when France implemented a database for storing criminal DNA.

FTA is a chemically treated matrix that lyses cells, denatures proteins, and protects nucleic acid from nucleases, oxidation, and UV damage. The cards are treated to inactivate blood-borne pathogens and prevent bacterial growth.

Financial details were not disclosed.

The Scan

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.

Fragile X Syndrome Mutations Found With Comprehensive Testing Method

Researchers in Clinical Chemistry found fragile X syndrome expansions and other FMR1 mutations with ties to the intellectual disability condition using a long-range PCR and long-read sequencing approach.

Team Presents Strategy for Speedy Species Detection in Metagenomic Sequence Data

A computational approach presented in PLOS Computational Biology produced fewer false-positive species identifications in simulated and authentic metagenomic sequences.

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.