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Proteomics Sales Remain Healthy for Agilent As Life Science Revs Grow 20 Percent in Q2

High demand for its liquid chromatographers and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer systems helped drive 15 percent revenue growth in Agilent’s Bio-Analytical division, the company reported this week.
For its fiscal second quarter ending April 30, the Bio-Analytical division, which contains Agilent’s proteomics tools and instruments, posted revenues of $428 million, up from $372 million during the second quarter of 2006. The company said the division’s growth surpassed that of similar divisions among major competitors.
Orders in the division rose 14 percent for the quarter to $457 million, the fourth straight quarter of double-digit growth, said Adrian Dillon, CFO of Agilent.
The strength of the division helped compensate for softer growth in the company’s Electronic Measurement division, 3 percent, resulting in total revenue growth of 7 percent for the quarter.
Agilent posted total revenues of $1.32 billion for the quarter, compared to $1.24 billion a year ago.
Within the Bio-Analytical division, the company continued to see strong results in the life science segment as Agilent continued building on a refocused effort to expand its presence in the proteomics space.
Life science revenues rose to $194 million for the quarter, a 20 percent spike from a year ago. In a conference call accompanying the company’s earnings release, Agilent officials said its suite of instruments with proteomics uses fueled the revenue jump.
“Life sciences revenue growth was again driven this quarter by the success of our new 1200 Series [Rapid Resolution] LC platform, and our expanded LC-MS portfolio, which includes the single-quad, the triple-quad and the QTOF,” Dillon said.
The 1200 Series RRLC system was introduced early last year and since then, Agilent officials have characterized it as an unqualified success. In February, the company said that it had shipped its 1,000th unit, prompting Chris van Ingen, president and general manager of Agilent’s Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis business, to say the “remarkably fast ramp rate is strong proof of customer and marketplace acceptance of our 1200 Rapid Resolution instruments.”
Combining results from its chemical analysis segment, which grew 11 percent to $234 million, LC sales climbed in the double digits, Bill Sullivan, president and CEO of Agilent, said this week, while LC-MS sales doubled from a year ago “fueled by success of our new products.”
In 2006, Agilent also launched the 6100 series single-quadrupole LC-MS with four models: 6210 TOF-MS; 6300 series ion trap MS; 6410 triple-quadrupole LC-MS; and 6510 quadrupole TOF LC-MS.
“Customers [invested] in applications and tools that accelerate time-to-market and improved workflows. As a result, applications for mass specs, diagnostics, and array platforms continued to grow,” Sullivan said.
The upward momentum in sales of its proteomics instruments comes as Agilent transforms itself from a semiconductor business to a pure-play instruments firm. Earlier this year, Agilent officially embarked on a four-point growth strategy as part of that initiative. Along with a greater focus on its microarray business, its diagnostic platforms, and its informatics technology, the strategy calls for efforts at capturing a larger chunk of the proteomics instruments market [See PM 01/11/07].

“We’ll continue to focus our R&D, customer collaborations, and M&A efforts on refreshing [and] expanding our portfolio, improving customer workflow requirements, and providing full application solutions to our customers needs,”

Even before that, however, the company had moved to widen its footprint in proteomics with mass spec launches last year. And during the conference call this week, Sullivan said that Agilent will continue to invest in a set of strategic growth initiatives that include mass specs.
Recently, Nick Roelofs, general manager of life sciences at Agilent, said the company is also targeting the separations market, building on the success of the 1200 Series RRLC [See PM 03/08/07].
While Waters is generally regarded as the market leader in liquid chromatography, Agilent is a close second. But even as Agilent homes in on the LC market, Waters is betting that as HPLC users switch their allegiance to Waters’ Acquity UPLC, introduced in 2004, it will keep its place at the top of the LC food chain [See PM 04/26/07]. 
Regardless, during the conference call this week, Sullivan hinted at changes and additions to Agilent’s Bio-Analytical product portfolio as the company moves deeper into 2007.
“We’ll continue to focus our R&D, customer collaborations, and M&A efforts on refreshing [and] expanding our portfolio, improving customer workflow requirements, and providing full application solutions to our customers needs,” he said.
Geographically, revenues in the Bio-Analytical division were up 11 percent in the Americas, 19 percent in Europe, and 16 percent in Asia.
Companywide, profits rose to $123 million, up 7 percent from $115 million a year ago. Agilent spent $173 million on R&D during the quarter, up 1 percent from a year ago. As of April 30, it had $2.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents, it said.
Agilent’s Electronic Measurement division which makes up about 68 percent of the company’s business, posted revenues of $892 million during the quarter, up from $867 million a year ago.
For the third quarter, officials said they expect revenue growth of 10 percent to 13 percent to between $1.36 billion and $1.4 billion. The guidance does not include results from the company’s pending acquisition of Stratagene, expected to close in mid-June.

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