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Industry Briefs: Mar 19, 2009


MDS Q1 Revs Down 13 Percent, Mass Spec Unit Down 27 Percent; Renews Shareholders Rights Plan

MDS reported last week that its first-quarter revenues fell 13 percent year over year, with its MDS Analytical Technologies segment, which houses its mass spectrometry business, posting a 27 percent decline in revenues.

The firm brought in total revenues of $257 million for the three-month period ended Jan. 31. It said that excluding the impact of foreign exchange, acquisitions, and divestitures, revenues were down 1 percent compared to the year-ago period.

MDS Analytical Technologies had revenues of $85 million, down 27 percent from $116 million for the first quarter of 2008. Mass-spec revenues fell 7 percent year over year.

Its MDS Pharma Services segment had revenues of $124 million, down 12 percent from revenues of $146 million for the first quarter of 2008. The MDS Nordion segment had revenues of $66 million, up 10 percent from $60 million year over year.

"Declines were primarily driven by lower revenue and the impact of unfavorable foreign exchange due to hedge positions established in 2008, which were partially offset by savings associated with restructuring, the manufacturing transition to Asia, and a year-over-year reduction in R&D spending following the completion of key projects in the second half of 2008," the firm said in a statement.

MDS posted a profit of $2 million versus a profit of $19 million for the first quarter of 2008.

The company's R&D costs declined 30 percent to $14 million from $20 million, while its SG&A spending decreased 6 percent to $60 million from $64 million. The firm also took a $4 million restructuring charge in the first quarter.

MDS finished the quarter with $149 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Separately, the firm said this week that shareholders have approved the renewal of its shareholders' rights plan at its annual and special meeting of shareholders held last week.

The purpose of the plan is to encourage parties interested in becoming beneficial owners of 20 percent or more of MDS' common stock either to make a permitted bid or to negotiate the terms of the offer with the company's board.

Such owners can make additional purchases of MDS' common stock at half off the market shareprice.

In a statement, the company said that in the event of unsolicited takeover bids, the plan allows its board additional time to evaluate such bids, and to explore and develop alternatives "to maximize shareholder value, to provide equal treatment of all shareholders, and lessen the pressure on a shareholder to tender to a bid."

The plan will expire on the close of the business day in 2012 when MDS holds that year's annual shareholders' meeting unless decided otherwise.

Aushon Purchases SearchLight Protein Array Biz from Thermo Fisher

Microarray firm Aushon BioSystems this week said it has purchased the SearchLight Protein Array business and technology assets from Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The SearchLight technology belonged to Pierce Biotechnology which was owned by Fisher Scientific. Thermo Fisher acquired the technology as a result of the 2006 merger between Thermo Electron and Fisher Biosciences.

The SearchLight assets will be integrated into Aushon, but its products will continue to be marketed under the SearchLight brand, Aushon said in a statement.

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OGT Acquires Sense Proteomic

Oxford Gene Technology this week said it has acquired biomarker firm Sense Proteomic.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to a statement, UK-based Sense Proteomic has used its proprietary protein array platform to identify biomarker panels for several diseases including prostate cancer and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Mike Evans, CEO of OGT, also based in the UK, said the deal, along with the company's recent development of an "ultra high-throughput DNA microarray facility, gives OGT a unique blend of genomic and proteomic technologies and will lead to the development of biomarkers with profound clinical significance."

IBA Buys Axela's dotLab Platform, Two Firms Partner on Assay Development

The Institute for Bioanalytics this week said it has expanded it assay development with the purchase of a dotLab system from Axela.

In addition to custom assay development, the two firms are partnering "to expand the menu of biomarker assays optimized for use with the dotLab platform," and a new platform to be released by Axela called panelPlus sensors, a technology that allows customers to combine preconfigured assays with novel markers to accelerate biomarker validation.

Terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Arrayit Goes Public

Arrayit said this week it has begun trading on the OTC Bulletin Boards after completing the combination of its business with Integrated Media Holdings.

The company began trading under the ticker symbol "ARYC" on March 19.

As a result of its transition to a publicly traded firm, Arrayit has redomiciled to Nevada from Delaware and completed a reverse 1-for-30 stock split. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.

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UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

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