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Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waters, ABI, Invitrogen, Bio-Rad, Johns Hopkins University, PerkinElmer, Agilent, Advion, Cell Signaling Technology, Ortho-Biotech Oncology Research and Development, Proxeon, Sigma-Aldrich

Thermo Fisher Lays off 123 More in Analytical Technologies
Thermo Fisher Scientific laid off 267 workers from its Analytical Technologies segment through the first nine months of the year, the company disclosed in a document filed late last month.
In its 10-Q filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said that during the third quarter ended Sept. 27, its Analytical Technologies segment, which houses its mass spectrometry business, laid off 123 employees, primarily in manufacturing and administration.
In the first quarter, the business segment laid off 51 workers, primarily in manufacturing and sales and services, and in the second quarter, 93 workers, primarily in manufacturing, and research and development, lost their jobs, bringing the total number of jobs eliminated in Analytical Technologies to 267 with three months left in the year.
In its filing, the company said that during the third quarter it took $13.9 million in net restructuring and other charges, including $10.3 million of cash costs “principally associated with facility consolidations and streamlining operations.” That included $5.5 million in severance for the layoffs.
It is unclear if any cuts occurred in Thermo Fisher’s mass-spec business. In an e-mail to ProteoMonitor, Thermo Fisher declined to provide further information.
“Our business unit leaders continuously evaluate the level of staffing and other resources necessary to meet the needs of our customers, taking into account the dynamics of current market conditions,” the company said.
Thermo Fisher reported a 1.4-percent increase in profits to $221.5 million during the third quarter. Receipts rose 7.8 percent to $2.6 billion. Revenues in Analytical Technologies grew to $1.1 billion from $1 billion a year ago.

Class Action Suit Accuses Waters of Artificially Inflating Share Price
A class action suit has been filed on behalf of an institutional investor against Waters alleging that the firm provided false and misleading information in certain press materials, SEC filings, and a conference call in January 2008, ProteoMonitor’s sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News reported this week.
The suit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts on behalf of purchasers of Waters’ common stock between Jan. 24, 2007, and Jan. 22, 2008. The plaintiff is the City of Dearborn Heights Act 345 Police & Fire Retirement System and the defendants are Waters, its Chairman, CEO, and President Doug Berthiaume, and CFO John Ornell.
The complaint alleges that Waters’ representations of its business during the class period were “materially false and misleading” because the firm did not disclose that it was experiencing a slowdown in sales in Japan due to decreased government regulation, that its earnings were being materially impacted by an increased tax rate, and that because of these factors it had “no reasonable basis for its 2007 earnings guidance.”
Waters held its fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2007 conference call on Jan. 22, 2008, following the release of its financial results. Its shares declined around 20 percent to close at $58.58 that day.
"As a result of these materially false and misleading statements and failures to disclose, Waters Corp. common stock traded at artifically inflated prices during the class period," the complaint alleges.
The plaintiff also alleges that Berthiaume and Ornell were "further motivated to engage in ths course of conduct" so that they and other company insiders could "collectively sell 702,600 shares of their personally-held Waters Corp. common stock for gross proceeds in excess of $46.1 million."
The plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages, as well as the award of reasonable costs and expenses associated with its suit against Waters. Though it didn't specify how much money it was seeking in damages, the plaintiff purchased Waters' shares in three blocks: 2,220 shares at $68.01 per share on Oct. 17, 2007; 1,470 shares at $75.83 on Oct. 31, 2007; and 140 shares at $73.64 per share on Nov. 13, 2007.
A Waters official said they had just learned of the complaint and had no comment.

ABI-Invitrogen Merger Receives Blessing of EC
Applied Biosystems and Invitrogen this week said they have received clearance from European regulators for their proposed merger and anticipate closing the deal on Nov. 21.
Approval from the European Commission was the final regulatory hurdle to the $6.7 billion deal. The deal is still subject to other customary closing conditions, but in a statement, the firms said those are expected to be satisfied by Nov. 21.
The name of the new company will be Life Technologies and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol “LIFE.”

DiaMed Purchase Pushes Bio-Rad Q3 Sales Up 30 Percent
Bio-Rad Laboratories last week said sales grew 30.1 percent in the third quarter.
For the three months ended Sept. 30, the company posted sales of $441.8 million, up from $339.7 million a year ago. DiaMed Holding, which Bio-Rad acquired during the fourth quarter of 2007, contributed $63.5 million to sales in the quarter. Excluding revenues from that acquisition, Bio-Rad’s sales rose 11.4 percent, or 5.6 percent organically, compared to a year ago.
Sales in the Life Science segment were up 9.7 percent to $156.9 million, or 4.4 percent organically. The company cited strong sales in electrophoresis, chromatography, gel imaging products, and Bio-Plex suspension array system reagents.
The company’s Clinical Diagnostics segment sales grew 45.6 percent to $281.4 million during the quarter. Excluding the effects of currency, the segment grew 39.4 percent.
Profits declined .5 percent to $27.8 million.
Research and development spending grew 17.2 percent to $38.8 million in the quarter. Selling, general, and administrative expenses rose 27.9 percent to $150.5 million. SG&A spending during the quarter included $2 million for amortization of purchasing intangibles and incremental DiaMed operating expenses.
Bio-Rad said it had $193.6 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Sept. 30.

Johns Hopkins University Researchers ID Proteins That May be Linked to Ischemia
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University have identified five proteins that may be indicative of an impending heart attack.
In research presented at the American Heart Association’s annual scientific sessions this week in New Orleans, the researchers said they have uncovered five proteins that significantly increase after an ischemic event: lumican, semenogelin, angiogenin, extracellular matrix protein, and so-called long palate, lung, and nasal epithelium carcinoma-associated protein 1.
More than 8 million Americans have suffered at least one heart attack in their lifetime, according to the university. While chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and pale and clammy skin are common symptoms of a heart attack, they can also be symptomatic of less serious conditions such as heart burn, stomach cramps, or gas.
The five proteins discovered by the Johns Hopkins researchers could form the basis of a test that could provide a more definitive measure of the severity of such symptoms, and warn clinicians of a more serious oncoming ischemic event resulting in substantial heart tissue damage or death, said Jenny Van Eyk, senior investigator on the research and director of the Johns Hopkins NHLBI Proteomics Center, in a statement from the university.
“Our results lay the foundation for a first-of-a-kind, early warning system that could save tens of thousands of people on the brink of a heart attack,” she said.
The findings are based on a study of 76 arterial blood samples from 19 patients taken immediately before and after medically induced ischemia lasting as long as 45 minutes. The blood samples are from the University of Texas Southwestern.
A more comprehensive follow-up study is planned, looking at a minimum of 150 participants and more than 1,000 blood samples. Van Eyk and her co-researchers plan to map the molecular structures of the proteins so that antibodies can be identified for one or several of the proteins, which could lead to a blood-based diagnostic test for ischemia.

PerkinElmer Reorganizes Biz into Human Health and Environmental Health
PerkinElmer this week announced a new alignment of its business to focus on human and environmental health.
The Human Health Business will focus on developing diagnostics, tools, and applications to fight illness, provide “better medical insight,” and create new therapies. The business will include PerkinElmer’s Genetic Screening, Bio-discovery, and Medical Imaging operating units. Robert Friel, the firm’s president and CEO, will lead the business on an interim basis.
The Environmental Health Business will create safer products, more secure surroundings, and efficient energy sources. The operating units housed in the business will include Analytical Sciences, Laboratory Services, and Detection and Illumination, formerly known as Sensors and Specialty Lighting. John Roush, currently head of PerkinElmer’s Optoelectronics division, will lead the business.
The company said that with the change, it has placed a portion of its specialty lighting business under strategic review. The businesses under review are anticipated to have revenues of $90 million in 2008.

Agilent, Advion Reach Co-Marketing Agreement
Agilent Technologies and Advion BioSystems this week said they have signed a non-exclusive co-marketing agreement for Advion’s triVersa NanoMate system with Agilent’s mass spectrometers.
The NanoMate is a chip-based, automated fraction collection and nanoelectrospray system that connects to the inlet of a mass spectrometer. Unlike Agilent’s 1200 Series HPLC chips, the NanoMate operates at capillary and micro flow rates needed for fraction collection, “enabling collection of individual peaks for highly sensitive infusion MS analysis,” Advion said in a statement.
Agilent’s HPLC chips provide online LC-MS at nanoflow rates suited to applications in which sample availability is limited.
The two companies have co-developed a bracket to interface the NanoMate to Agilent’s mass specs. Advion will sell the bracket with the NanoMate.
Under the agreement, the two companies will co-market the NanoMate and Agilent’s mass specs. Each will co-promote their products at trade shows and conferences.
Financial details of the agreement were not revealed.

Ortho-Biotech Renews Agreement for use of CST’s PTM Technology
Cell Signaling Technology said this week it has renewed a research agreement with Ortho-Biotech Oncology Research and Development.
The agreement covers the use of CST’s PhosphoScan and PTM Scan technologies in biomarker discovery and validation studies for multiple enzyme targets and lead small-molecule inhibitors. Ortho-Biotech is a division of Janssen Pharmaceutica.
CST’s technologies are for the profiling and discovery of phosphorylation and other post-translational modifications in cells and tissues.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Mann’s Lab at Max Planck Standardizing with Proxeon’s Nano-LC Systems
Matthias Mann’s laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry will replace its installed liquid chromatography instruments with Proxeon’s Easy-nLC nanoscale chromatography systems, the company said this week.
In a statement from Proxeon, Mann said that the lab has nine LC-MS systems running and expects further instrument systems to be installed in the coming year. “We wanted to standardize on a smoothly running, high-performance configuration and replicate that across our entire laboratory,” and wanted “trouble-free operation and ease of use along with top performance,” which the Easy-nLC system achieves.
The systems and Proxeon’s nano-ES ion sources will be used with mass spectrometers from Thermo Fisher Scientific in Mann’s lab.

Sigma-Aldrich Board Approves Quarterly Dividend
Sigma-Aldrich’s board this week approved a quarterly dividend of $.13 per share, payable on Dec. 15 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 1.

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.