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Chemicon, Fisher Scientific, Qiagen, and Invitrogen


Chemicon Expands Focus to RNAi Through Promega Deal

Chemicon, a division of Serologicals, said this week that it has entered the field of RNAi research through a sublicensing deal with Promega.

The company said it has acquired through the license the right to use DNA-directed RNA interference technology — which uses DNA constructs to transcribe within target cells dsRNA that trigger an RNAi effect — to develop and sell products and reagents for life science research.

DdRNAi was developed by Benitec, which exclusively licensed the technology and related sublicensing rights in areas outside human therapeutics to Promega in April last year. (See GenomeWeb News, 4/17/2003).

“This agreement represents a significant expansion of our efforts in functional genomics,” Jeffrey Linton, president of Chemicon, said in a statement. “Through the licensing of the ddRNAi technology, Chemicon now has the opportunity to provide a comprehensive portfolio of RNAi-based products and reagents to the research community.”

A Chemicon spokesman told RNAi News that since his company’s products are primarily antibody-based, examples of its RNAi offerings are “value-added kits that include antibodies as controls, as well as transfection reagents and the specific sequences.”

Fisher Scientific to Offer $300 Million of Convertible Notes

Fisher Scientific said this week that it plans to sell roughly $300 million of convertible senior subordinated notes.

The offering also includes an option for the sale’s underwriters to purchase an additional $30 million principal amount of notes, the company said.

Proceeds of the offering will, in part, be used to fund Fisher’s upcoming $80 million cash acquisition of Dharmacon. This transaction is set to close at the end of the first quarter. (See RNAi News, 2/13/2004).

Qiagen Posts Rise in Q4 Revenues

Qiagen today reported a 21 percent revenue increase, along with a rise in net income and R&D spending, for the fourth quarter.

The company posted revenues of $95.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2003, up from $78.4 million in the year-ago period.

Net income was $9 million for the quarter, compared to $1.8 million in the same quarter of 2002 — a 407 percent increase. Net income excluding the effect of relocation and restructuring costs increased 34 percent to $13 million from $9.7 million in the same period of 2002.

Qiagen spent $9.1 million on R&D during the fourth quarter, up from $7.7 million in the prior year.

As of Dec. 31, 2003, Qiagen had $99 million in cash and cash equivalents, compared to $44.9 million as of Dec. 31, 2002.

“We are moving into 2004 with a positive outlook as the preclinical and clinical research budgets in the biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry are accelerating,” Qiagen CEO Peer Schatz said in a statement. “In the fourth quarter our products for nucleic acid handling, separation and purification again showed strong growth rates of 21 percent driven by strong demand in Europe, an agreement to co-market Amaxa’s Nucleofector technology, and Qiagen’s TOM-amidites based HPP grade siRNA.”

Invitrogen Closes sale of $450 million of Senior Convertible Notes

Invitrogen said this week that it has completed the sale of $450 million of 1.5 percent senior convertible notes due 2024 to qualified institutional shareholders.

The inital purchasers of the notes, the company said, hold an option to buy an additional $67.5 million aggregate principal amount of the notes during a 13-day period.

According to Invitrogen, a part of the proceeds from the sale of the 1.5 percent senior convertible notes will be used to redeem all of Invitrogen’s outstanding 5.5 percent convertible subordinated notes, with a principal amount of $172.5 million, due March 1, 2007.

The redemption will occur on March 15, 2004, the company said. Approximately $176.6 million in cash will be used to redeem the convertible notes, it added, and that a one-time financial charge of approximately $6.7 million will be incurred in the first quarter of 2004 in connection with the redemption.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.