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Calando, Invitrogen, Sigma-Aldrich

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Calando Cleared to Begin Phase I Trial of Cancer Drug
 
Calando Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Arrowhead Research, said this week that its investigational new drug application for its lead RNAi-based cancer therapy has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
 
With the clearance, Calando can begin a phase I trial of the drug, CALAA-01, which will be conducted at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center in Los Angeles and the South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics clinic in San Antonio.
 

 
Invitrogen's Q1 Revenues Climb 13.5 Percent as Profit Nearly Doubles
 
Invitrogen reported this week that its first-quarter revenues rose 13.5 percent and its profit nearly doubled.
 
The Carlsbad, Calif.-based firm brought in revenues of $350.2 million for the three months ended March 31, up from revenues of $308.7 million for the comparable period of 2007. The company noted that organic revenue growth, excluding currency effects and acquisitions, was 7 percent.
 
Invitrogen’s profit for the quarter jumped to $59.7 million, from $1.19 per share, from $30.3 million, or $0.62 per share, in the comparable period of 2007.
 
The firm’s R&D expenses rose 11.7 percent to $30.6 million from $27.4 million year over year, while its SG&A costs increased 16.4 percent to $113.7 million from $97.7 million.
 
Invitrogen finished the quarter with $549.1 million in cash and short-term investments.
 
CEO Greg Lucier said during a conference call to discuss the results that despite the current economic climate, Invitrogen’s end markets continue to be stable. “The large pharma end market is experiencing some challenges at the moment but this has not affected us,” he said.

“More significantly, a great deal of development has been shifting to the smaller, more efficient biotech sector. … So, any contraction in the pharma market is far outweighed by the robust growth we’re seeing in biotech.”

 
Invitrogen said in a statement that it expects its fiscal 2008 revenues to increase in the high-single digits.
 

 
Sigma-Aldrich Sales Rise 14.9 Percent; Raises 2008 EPS Forecast
 
Sigma-Aldrich this week reported a 14.9 percent increase in first-quarter sales, helped by a 7.6 percent benefit from currency translation and a 12.8 percent gain in profits year over year.
 
The St. Louis-based chemicals and life science research products firm brought in revenues of $569.6 million for the three-month period ended March 31, compared to revenues of $495.9 million for the comparable period a year ago. The firm’s organic growth rate for the quarter was 6.5 percent, excluding the currency effects and acquisition of Epichem in February 2007.
  
Sigma-Aldrich posted net income of $84.5 million, or $0.64 per share, compared with net income of $74.9 million, or $0.56 per share, in the first quarter of 2007.
 
The firm’s R&D expenses increased 12.8 percent to $15.9 million from $14.1 million, while its SG&A costs rose 16.4 percent to $147.7 million from $126.9 million.
 
Sigma-Aldrich finished the quarter with $226.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.
 
The firm is targeting 2008 organic sales growth of 7 percent, with currency effects expected to add an additional 6 percent of growth. It also raised its 2008 earnings per share guidance by $0.05 to a range of between $2.57 and $2.67.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.