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Exiqon Launches miRNA Research Grant Program, Posts Higher Q1 Revenues on Sales Gains

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Exiqon last week unveiled a new grant program under which the company will provide funding to investigators from North American academic and non-profit institutions performing microRNA-focused research projects.

The Danish company also last week reported its first-quarter financial results, posting a 69 percent jump in revenues on strong sales of research and diagnostic products.

As part of the grant initiative, called the Exiqon Grant Program, the firm has set aside $25,000 to fund projects that will "enhance the understanding of how microRNA expression and function relates to normal cellular development, and/or disease-related cellular pathways," the company said.

Exiqon added that the grant money may be used to purchase the firm's own miRNA reagents or array and PCR services. It was unclear, however, whether it could be used for other purposes.

To qualify for funding, investigators must submit an abstract outlining their research area, project goals, and proposed workflow by June 15, Exiqon said. Grant recipients will be announced no later than July 1.

Additional details about the program can be found here.

For the three-month period ended March 31, Exiqon posted a net loss of DKK43.7 million ($8.1 million), or DKK1.44 per share.

Revenues surged to DKK27.9 million from DKK16.4 million, with its diagnostics division contributing DKK11.1 million on sales of products gained through Exiqon's acquisition of oncology-testing services firm Oncotech (see RNAi News, 4/10/2008).

Meanwhile operating costs in the quarter jumped 48 percent, to DKK51 million from DKK23.8 million, of which research and development spending accounted for DKK16.6 million.

Exiqon said that it has lowered its full-year 2009 revenue expectations to between DKK165 million to DKK190 million from DKK175 million to DKK200 million. The company's revenues guidance for its diagnostics division, however, is unchanged and is still expected to contribute between DKK70 and DKK80 million.

The company said it maintains its long-term goal of reaching profitability by 2011.

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