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Thermo Fisher, Wyatt, GenoLogics, Windber, Sigma-Aldrich, CombiMatrix, Biotech Support Group, ProFACT, GeneGo, Vermillion, PerkinElmer, Bio Nano Center, Arrayjet

Year-old Merger Engorges Thermo Fisher Q3 Earnings
Thermo Fisher Scientific this week reported a 231 percent increase in revenues for the third quarter, largely a result of its merger last November with Fisher Scientific.
For the three months ended Sept. 29, the combined company posted receipts of $2.4 billion compared to $724.9 million for Thermo alone a year ago. On a pro forma basis, revenues for the period grew 7.3 percent.
Net income rose to $218.5 million, compared to $48.8 million a year ago.
In the Analytical Technologies division, which houses Thermo Fisher’s instruments including those with proteomics applications, revenues rose to $1.04 billion, compared to $540.7 million a year ago, or $931.3 million a year ago on a pro forma basis.
Laboratory Products and Services revenues rose to $1.45 billion from $184.2 million a year ago. On a pro forma basis the division had revenues of $1.39 billion a year ago.
Geographically, sales in North America were “slightly above” the company average, Pete Wilver, senior vice president and CFO of Thermo Fisher, said in a conference call accompanying the earnings results, while Asia sales were about twice that of the company average.
Sales in Europe grew in the low-single digits against strong year-ago results when that region saw sales grow by about 10 percent, Wilver said.
The company spent $58.8 million on R&D during the period. As of Sept. 29, the company had $830.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.
For full-year 2007, Thermo Fisher raised its revenue guidance to between $9.6 and 9.65 billion from a previous guidance of $9.5 to $9.55 billion. The new figures would represent revenue growth of 8 percent to 9 percent over full-year 2006 results on a pro forma basis. 

Wyatt Develops New Method for Measuring Protein Interactions
Wyatt Technology said last week it has developed a new Static Light Scattering method for measuring protein-protein interactions.
The method measures the second virial coefficient using Wyatt’s Dawn and miniDawn light scattering and Optilab rEX refractometer instruments. The second virial coefficient is used to characterize equilibrium solution of weak non-specific protein-solvent interactions and is essential to understand many processes.
The coefficient values are dependent on the protein and solvent and temperature, salinity, pH, and the presence of chemical recipients. While results showing positive coefficient indicate repulsive intermolecular interaction, results showing negative coefficient point to attractive intermolecular interaction.
The new method, dubbed the Trainoff-Wyatt Online method, allows for rapid determination of buffer conditions to tune the coefficient to a particular value, and Wyatt said in a statement, delivers accurate results “at a greatly reduced cost.”

GenoLogics Provides Lab Data Management Software Tools to Windber
Windber Research Institute, a US Department of Defense-funded laboratory, has chosen GenoLogics to provide integrated data management tools “to achieve [its] vision of personalized preventative medicine which they are achieving with a translational medicine strategy,” GenoLogics said.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
According to Richard Mural, CSO of Windber, GenoLogics provides an integrated solution that includes a “multi-lab IT platform and modules purposed for genomics and proteomics research, plus the configurability of the system will also enable us to manage data in other science areas.”
Windber is trying to create a worldwide network of collaborative research institutes in Europe, North America, and Asia to carry out its mission of preventative medicine.

Sigma-Aldrich Revs up 14 Percent
Sigma-Aldrich this week reported a 14.1 percent growth in sales to $503.2 million for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to $441.4 million from a year ago. For the quarter, profits rose 4.7 percent to $71.6 million from $68.4 million during the year-ago period.
Commenting on the company’s results, Jai Nagarkatti, CEO of Sigma-Aldrich, said that the company expects to reach the $2 billion mark in annual sales for the first time in its history.
For the quarter, the company spent $15 million on R&D, compared to $13.2 million a year ago. As of Sept. 30, Sigma-Aldich had $202.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.

CombiMatrix Revs Down 8.8 Percent as it Becomes a Dx Firm
CombiMatrix this week reported revenues of $1.7 million for its third quarter, down 8.8 percent from year-ago figures of $1.8 million. Net loss for the three months ended Sept. 30 contracted 20.6 percent to $3.4 million from $4.3 million.
In a statement, Amit Kumar, president and CEO of CombiMatrix said that the drop in revenues was anticipated “as we made a significant strategic shift in our commercial focus … from selling R&D products to researchers to selling diagnostic products and services to physicians, patients, and reference laboratories.”
For the period, the company, which recently split from Acacia Research, spent $1.9 million on R&D. As of Sept. 30, it had $10.5 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments.

Consulting Services Available Now Through Biotech Support Group, ProFACT
Biotech Support Group and ProFACT Proteomics have reached an agreement to provide consulting services in profiling serum protein for proteomic analysis using ProFACT’s SeraFile technology.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
SeraFILE is a proprietary surface library that generates differential protein pools in an automated system while retaining biological activity. The technology “enriches discovery strategies that enrich catalytic activity and directly couple to drug development thereby leading proteomic researchers to new pre-clinical drug development tools, theranostic protein signatures, and functional biomarkers,” the companies said in a press release.

Mammalian GRP94 Protein Structure Solved
A Hauptman-Woodward senior research scientist has solved the structure of the first mammalian GRP94 protein confirming that it is from the same family as the HSP90 proteins.
Gewirth and his lab used X-ray diffraction to conduct their research, which is the first high-resolution picture of a member of the HSP90 family. It is also the first structure of a mammalian member of the protein family, and shows for the first time how members of the HSP90 family of chaperone proteins can differ from each other and still be part of the same overall family.
Gewirth’s work “clarifies” GRP94’s place in the HSP90 family and may result in the development of drugs that could be narrowly targeted for individual proteins, Hauptman-Woodward said in a statement.

GeneGo Licenses MetCore Data Mining Suite to Aveo
GeneGo said this week Aveo Pharmaceuticals has licensed its MetaCore Data Mining Suite for automatically uploading and handling large sets of genome-wide files. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Vermillion Proceeds on Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trial
Vermillion, formerly known as Ciphergen, said this week it has completed enrollment for its clinical trial for its ovarian cancer triage test. A total of 550 patients were enrolled in 27 clinical trial sites for the test, designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the test in distinguishing benign from malignant ovarian tumors.
In a statement, Gail Page, president and CEO of Vermillion said data is currently being compiled for submission to the US Food and Drug Administration for in vitro diagnostic clearance. The company expects to report results in December, she said.

PE Declares Dividend
PerkinElmer’s board of directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $.07 per share of common stock, payable on Feb. 8, 2008, to shareholders of record as of the end of the business day Jan. 18, 2008.

UK’s Bio Nano Center Purchases Arrayjet’s Sprint Microarrayer
A joint research venture between two London research institutes has bought one of Arrayjet’s Sprint microarrayers, the Edinburgh, Scotland-based company said this week.
It’s the first time that Arrayjet has placed a Sprint in the UK.
The Bio Nano Center, a joint venture of University College London and Imperial College London, will install the instrument to “support rapid prototyping for protein microarraying and precision deposition in flexible formats,” Arrayjet said in a statement.
The company said the Sprint will enable the BNC to “develop multi-scale fabrication technology combining micron scale patterning with nanolithography techniques.”
Financial terms of the purchase were not released.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.