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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Qiagen, Fisher Scientific, and Altana and Atugen


Alnylam Provides IP Update

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals President and CEO John Maraganore said during the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year financial results conference call this week that the Australian patent office has accepted “broad claims from [the company’s] Kreutzer-Limmer patent estate. These claims include the use of double-stranded RNAs with a length of 15 to 45 nucleotides as therapeutic products.”

Barry Greene, COO of Alnylam, added during the call that the company is expecting to add one or more new licensees to the company’s InterfeRx program, which seeks to make the company’s IP available to other RNAi-based drug makers working in areas outside of Alnylam’s core focus.

The company signed its first InterfeRx deal with Japan’s GeneCare Research Institute in January

Qiagen Posts Increased Q4 Revenues, Earnings

Qiagen reported this week fourth-quarter revenues of $95.5 million, up slightly from $95.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

Qiagen’s net earning in the quarter rose 76 percent, to $15.8 million from $9 million in the fourth quarter of 2003.

The company said that the Q4 2004 income figures include expenses related to the relocation of its American marketing and sales operations from Valencia, Calif., to Germantown, Md. Excluding these costs, Qiagen’s net income climbed 26 percent to $16.4 million in the fourth quarter 2004 from $13 million in the same period a year earlier.

Qiagen spent $9.5 million on R&D in the fourth quarter of 2004, up from $9.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

The company had $196.4 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 31, 2004.

Separately, Qiagen said that effective Feb. 15 it will trade on Nasdaq under a new ticker symbol, QGEN. The Netherlands-based company previously traded under the symbol QGENF in compliance with Nasdaq requirements for foreign private issuers to append the letter “F” to their trading symbols. Nasdaq lifted the requirement last year.

In a statement, Qiagen said that the change of its trading symbol “is in the best interests of Qiagen and its shareholders” because the company generates around half of its revenues in the US, and 30 to 40 percent of the company’s shareholders are located in the US.

Fisher Revenues Up in Q4

Fisher Scientific reported last week a 36.3-percent revenue jump for the fourth quarter of 2004 to $1.3 billion from $976.5 million for the same period in the previous year.

Excluding the effect of foreign exchange, fourth-quarter sales were $1.3 billion, the company said in a statement.

Sales of scientific products and services for the quarter were $976.2 million, up from $696.6 million in the year-ago period. Excluding the effects of foreign exchange, the segment’s fourth-quarter 2004 sales were $952 million, the company said. Fisher attributed the increase to strong sales to pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers, colleges and universities, and “continued improvements” in international markets.

Sales of laboratory workstations totaled $49.8 million for the recent quarter, a drop of $.2 million from fourth-quarter 2003 figures. The healthcare products and services subunit reported fourth-quarter sales of $319. 9 million, a 36.1 percent rise from year-ago sales of $235 million.

Net income for Fisher’s fourth quarter was $51 million, a leap of 174.2 percent from $18.6 million in the year-ago period. A drop in the annual effective tax rate from 30 percent in 2003 to 29 percent in 2004 positively affected the company’s results for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2004, Fischer said.

Excluding $43.2 million of nonrecurring costs and special items, net of tax, net income for the recent quarter was $7.8 million, a drop of 58 percent from the fourth quarter of 2003.

Fisher had $162.5 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 31, 2004.

Altana Renews Target Validation, Licensing Deal with Atugen

Atugen said this week that its non-exclusive target validation and license agreement with Altana has been renewed for another year.

The agreement gives Altana the right to have molecular targets validated by Atugen using a number of proprietary knockdown tools and transfection technologies. Under the deal, Altana also receives a license to use Atugen’s gene-silencing and oligonucleotide-delivery technologies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The arrangement was first initiated in August 2001.

The Scan

NFTs for Genome Sharing

Nature News writes that non-fungible tokens could be a way for people to profit from sharing genomic data.

Wastewater Warning System

Time magazine writes that cities and college campuses are monitoring sewage for SARS-CoV-2, an approach officials hope lasts beyond COVID-19.

Networks to Boost Surveillance

Scientific American writes that new organizations and networks aim to improve the ability of developing countries to conduct SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance.

Genome Biology Papers on Gastric Cancer Epimutations, BUTTERFLY, GUNC Tool

In Genome Biology this week: recurrent epigenetic mutations in gastric cancer, correction tool for unique molecular identifier-based assays, and more.