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Alnylam, Qiagen, Sigma-Aldrich, Genospectra


Alnylam Reports Increased Q4, 2005
Losses Amid Higher R&D Spending

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals this week reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2005, posting widening losses amid increased research and development spending.

For the fourth quarter, Alnylam's net loss rose to $14.5 million, or $0.56 per share, from $5.7 million, or $0.29 per share, in the year-ago quarter. For 2005, the company's net loss jumped to $42.9 million, or $1.96 per share, from $35.4 million, or $2.98 per share, the year before.

Driving the higher quarterly and full-year losses was a surge in R&D costs as Alnylam advanced its respiratory syncytial virus program, now in phase I, as well as other pipeline programs including pandemic flu and cystic fibrosis. For the fourth quarter, the company's R&D expenses were $12.8 million versus $5.2 million a year earlier, while full-year R&D costs climbed to $35.3 million from $24.6 million in 2004.

Total costs and expenses in the fourth quarter more than doubled to $16.5 million from $8.2 million, as full-year 2005 costs and expenses edged up to $49.2 million from $36.5 million. Contributing to the higher overall expenses were fees from legal and other professional services related to Alnylam's alliance with Novartis (see RNAi News, 9/9/2005).

Revenues in the fourth quarter fell to $1.6 million from $2.8 million in the same period a year earlier, reflecting a $2-million milestone payment from partner Merck late last year. Alnylam's 2005 revenues rose slightly, to $5.7 million from $4.3 million in 2004, in part due to $3.6 million in cost reimbursement and amortization revenues related to the company's deal with Merck and money received during last year for licenses to intellectual property.

As of Dec. 31, 2005, Alnylam had cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaling $80 million, compared with $46 million at the end of 2004.

Looking ahead, the company upped its 2006 year-end cash guidance to more than $115 million from more than $50 million. Contributing to the increase is the recent completion of a public stock offering that netted the company about $62.3 million, as well as the fact that Alnylam exceeded its 2005 cash guidance by $5 million.

Qiagen Reports 9-Percent Increase in Q4 Sales; Consumables Segment Jumps 11 Percent

Qiagen this week reported a 9-percent increase in sales and a 6-percent rise in net profit for the fourth quarter.

Revenues for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2005, increased to $104.3 million from $95.5 million in the year-ago period.

Qiagen's net income for the fourth quarter rose to $16.9 million from $15.8 million in Q4 2004.

The company's consumables business, which contributed about 88 percent to net sales, grew approximately 11 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the same period one year ago.

R&D expenses for the fourth quarter rose to $10.7 million from $9.5 million in Q4 2004, Qiagen said.

As of Dec. 31, Qiagen had approximately $191.7 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand.

Sigma-Aldrich Buys Stake in Genospectra; Firms Plan to Co-Develop Cell-Based Assay Tools …

Sigma-Aldrich has acquired a minority equity stake in Genospectra and has obtained access to various Genospectra technologies as part of a broad R&D alliance, the companies said this week.

As part of the deal, the companies said they plan to develop new technology and products in the area of cell-based assays. In particular, the companies aim to develop live-cell biosensor assay reagents that can provide real-time data on the location and activity of proteins in living cells.

Other terms of the alliance call for Sigma to gain access to Genospectra's QuantiGene gene expression-profiling assay and its nanoparticle system for delivery of siRNA and other biomolecules to cells, called its inducible siRNA technologies.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

And Posts 16.7-Percent Increase in Q4 Revenues Atop Higher R&D Spending, Profit

Sigma-Aldrich also this week reported a 16.7-percent increase in revenues and a 4.8-percent rise in net income for the fourth quarter.

Sales for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2005, rose to $410.5 million from $351.9 million in the year-ago period. The company's scientific research and biotechnology business units increased by 2.7 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively, year over year.

R&D expenses for the fourth quarter grew 10 percent to $12.2 million from $11.1 million in Q4 2004, Sigma-Aldrich said.

Sigma-Aldrich's net income for the fourth quarter grew to $57.3 million from $54.7 million in Q4 2004.

As of Dec. 31, Sigma-Aldrich had approximately $98.6 million in cash and cash equivalents.

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