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Waters, Beckman Coulter, Applied Biosystems, ProtiVeris, Ciphergen, Cambridge Antibody Technology, Dyax, Cellzome, Lynx, Deltagen, UC Riverside


Waters Reports Increased Earnings for a challenging 2002

Waters reported increased fourth-quarter and year-end earnings last week. The company’s fourth quarter earnings totaled $40.2 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, on sales of $256.4 million, compared to a loss of $1.4 million or a penny per share on sales of $248.7 million for the same period last year. For 2002, the company earned $147.7 million on sales of $890 million, compared to $114.5 million on sales of $859.2 million in 2001.

“Overall, 2002 was a challenging year for the company,” Douglas Berthiaume, the company’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “The combined effects of a mass spectrometry patent dispute loss in the first quarter and slower demand, late in the year, from large pharmaceutical customers adversely affected our growth.”

The company also said its planned second-quarter launch of its new high performance triple quadrupole system was on track.


Beckman Coulter Life Science Revenues Down in $2.06B Year

A $39 million patent settlement charge did not completely dampen Beckman Coulter’s bright fourth quarter: Even after this charge, the company’s earnings totaled $33.5 million, or $0.53 per share, compared to $48.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2001. The company’s sales increased 3 percent to $595.5 million from $578.3 in the same period of the previous year.

For the year, the company’s sales totaled $2.06 billion, compared to $1.98 billion for 2001, while its earnings decreased slightly due to the litigation charge, to $135.5 million, from $141.5 million in 2001. Clinical diagnostics made up $1.42 billion of the company’s sales, while life science research, including proteomics instruments, comprised $444.9 million, and specialty testing came to $196 million. Of these segments, only life science research decreased, from $456.9 million in 2001.


Machine Buyers Buoy ABI as Revenues Climb in Second Quarter

Double-digit growth in instrument sales boosted Applied Biosystems’ revenues for the second quarter of fiscal year 2003, but charges related to an asset write-off and layoff costs pulled net earnings below the previous quarter, the company said.

Income for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2002, was $33.9 million, down sharply from the $65.9 million reported in the same period last year. Income was reduced by special charges: a $9.5 million asset write-off charge and a $24.3 million office closure and severance cost. The charges reduced net income by $23.4 million in the second quarter. Earnings per share for the quarter were $0.14 versus $0.23 for the previous year’s second quarter.

Net revenues for the quarter were $444.7 million, up 8 percent from the second quarter of last year. The increase was driven primarily by machine sales, which grew by 13 percent to $225.9 million from the previous year’s second quarter. Strong performers included the 3730 DNA Analyzer, the QStar XL LC/MS/MS mass spec system, the Q Trap LC/MS/MS mass spec system, and the 4700 Proteomics Analyzer with TOF/TOF optics.

The company’s mass spec product line grew the most quickly, increasing by 20 percent over the previous year, said company president Mike Hunkapiller. “We see healthy growth in the mass spectrometry market, and we also think we’ve taken market share,” he said in a conference call.


ProtiVeris Completes Prototype Biosensor

Protiveris of Rockville, Md., said last week it had completed its prototype VeriScan 3000 biosensor system and was looking to place the system in alpha trials with pharmaceutical companies.

The biosensor system combines microfluidics, electronics, laser technologies, and software to analyze biomolecular interactions. It can measure protein-protein, protein-DNA, and receptor-ligand interactions.


Ciphergen Expands Pfizer Collaboration

Ciphergen and Pfizer have expanded their collaboration to include a Copenhagen-based study for serum biomarkers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The study, which uses Ciphergen’s ProteinChip-brand SELDI system, will be conducted on behalf of Pfizer France’s Experimental Medicine Group.

The companies did not disclose financial terms of the agreement. The original collaboration began in October 2001 and focused on discovery of protein biomarkers in pre-clinical models for studying drug safety.


CAT, Dyax Expand Patent Licensing Agreement

Cambridge Antibody Technology of Cambridge, UK, and Dyax of Cambridge, Mass., have signed an expanded licensing agreement for one another’s phage display patents. The agreement expands a more limited 1997 deal in which the companies granted each other certain rights under their phage display patents. Under the new agreement, CAT is granting Dyax worldwide research licenses to its antibody phage display patents, and options for licenses to develop therapeutic and diagnostic antibodies. CAT will receive milestone payments and royalties on any products that enter into clinical trials, and has the option to co-develop and co-fund any antibodies that Dyax discovers. CAT also no longer has to pay royalties to Dyax for rights on its Ladner patents on antibodies, except for Humira.


Cellzome Licenses Lion’s SRS

German proteomics company Cellzome has licensed Lion Biosciences’s SRS bioinformatics program for three years, the companies announced last week.

Cellzome, which uses functional proteomics to discover and develop drugs for neurological, inflammatory, metabolic diseases and cancer, will use the software in its protein research.


Lynx Lays Off Staff, Axes Proteomics

Lynx Therapeutics of Hayward, Calif., has reduced its workforce by about a quarter, leaving it with a total of 90 employees.

The layoffs affect Lynx’s proteomics group in California, which has been developing a two-dimensional microchannel electrophoresis system for protein fractionation called “Protein Profiler,” as well as research and development staff in Heidelberg, Germany.

“We recognize Protein Profiler as a potentially valuable asset, but are not in a position at this time to make any further development investment in this project,” said Kevin Corcoran, president and CEO of Lynx, in a statement.

Lynx had been trying to drum up interest for ProteinProfiler for over a year (see ProteoMonitor 03-11-02) but had been unsuccessful in finding a commercialization partner.


Deltagen to Divest Proteomics Unit

Deltagen of Menlo Park, Calif., said early last month that it plans to sell or spin off its proteomics subsidiary, Deltagen Proteomics, which is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Failing that, it will shut the unit down.

The plan results from a new emphasis of Deltagen on its transgenic mouse technology tools and service business. It will discontinue its drug development efforts. Deltagen acquired the unit, formerly called Arcaris, in 2001. Deltagen Proteomics, which focuses on oncology research, currently has about 30 employees, according to a company spokeswoman.


UC Riverside Receives $1.25M for Proteomics Lab

The University of California, Riverside, has been awarded a grant in the amount of $1.25 million from the W.M. Keck Foundation in order to establish a proteomics laboratory within the center for plant cell biology in the genomics institute, the university said last week.

The award will allow the institute to purchase mass spectrometers and an automated protein sequencer to study plants, insects, and plant pathogens.

The Scan

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.

Study Reveals Potential Sex-Specific Role for Noncoding RNA in Depression

A long, noncoding RNA called FEDORA appears to be a sex-specific regulator of major depressive disorder, affecting more women, researchers report in Science Advances.

New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.