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Lipomics, Isis, Asuragen, Illumina, Invitrogen, BioReliance, Sigma-Aldrich, Qiagen

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Lipomics to Assist Isis in Metabolic Drug Development 
 
Lipomics Technologies, a privately held lipid metabolite analysis firm, said this week that it has signed an agreement to provide Isis Pharmaceuticals with lipid-focused support for its preclinical and clinical trial testing for various metabolic disease drugs.
 
Lipomics’ model “focuses on providing plasma-based mechanistic markers of lipid metabolism,” said president and CSO Steve Watkins.
 
Lipomics said it will retain the exclusive rights to develop diagnostic applications based on the data from the studies, while Isis will retain all therapeutic rights. Additional terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.
 

 
Asuragen to Provide Illumina Gene Expression Profiling Services
 
Asuragen said this week that it has become Illumina’s first commercial service provider for gene expression profiling services.
 
“In response to customer requests, we are pleased to offer an additional choice in gene expression profiling with the Illumina platform," Rollie Carlson, president of Asuragen, said in a statement.
 
"Recent results from the MicroArray Quality Control project confirmed that Illumina's gene expression technology is capable of generating excellent quality and performance, and boosting the number of detected genes,” Scott Hunicke-Smith, vice president and general manager of Asuragen Services, added.
 
Asuragen said it is now accepting whole-genome samples for gene expression profiling using Illumina's Human-6 Expression BeadChip, which contains more than 46,000 gene targets and allows researchers to generate whole-genome expression profiles.
 

 
Invitrogen Posts Weak Revenue Gain, $100M Loss in Q4 as It Plans to Sell BioReliance
 
Invitrogen reported this week poor fourth-quarter revenue growth as R&D spending decreased 7.6 percent and net income dropped 300 percent on a variety of one-time charges.
 
Total revenues for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006, rose 1.6 percent to $329.8 million from $325.2 million year over year. 
 
R&D spending increased to $35.3 million from $27.4 million year over year.
 
The company said net loss totaled $100.2 million from a net gain of $49.6 million in the year-ago period. The company said a variety of one-time charges affected the earnings.
 
Invitrogen said it had around $380.3 million in cash and equivalents and short-term investments as of Dec. 31, 2006.
 
"Although we had improved financial performance in the fourth quarter of 2006, we still have work in front of us to accelerate organic growth and optimize operating margins,” Invitrogen CFO David Hoffmeister said in a statement.
 
Invitrogen also said last week that it plans to sell its BioReliance unit to Avista Capital Partners for $210 million as part of an ongoing plan to better organize its acquired components. Invitrogen CEO Greg Lucier said the divestiture of the contract services business will allow the company to “focus on our platform of scientific technologies.”
 

 
Sigma-Aldrich Q4 Revenues Climb on ‘Robust’ Sales
 
Sigma-Aldrich this week said fourth-quarter revenue rose 13 percent as R&D spending increased 9 percent and net income widened 25 percent.
 
Total revenues for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006, rose to $464.5 million from $410.5 million year over year.
 
The jump in revenues was fueled by “robust” sales in all of the company’s major units, CEO Jai Nagarkatti said, adding that the better-than-predicted growth gives the company “confidence that our strategic initiatives are gaining momentum.”
 
R&D spending increased to $13.3 million from $12.2 million year over year.
 
The company said profit increased to $71.6 million $57.3 million in the year-ago period.
 
Sigma-Aldrich said it had around $173.8 million in cash and equivalents as of Dec. 31, 2006.
 
The company said it expects 2007 revenues to increase roughly 7 percent year over year.
 

 
Qiagen Instrument Sales Fuel 21-Percent Revenue Growth in Q4
 
Qiagen this week said fourth-quarter revenue rose 21 percent as R&D spending increased 14 percent and net income widened 15 percent.
 
Total revenues for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006, rose to $125.9 million from $104.3 million year over year. The increase was in part caused by a 47-percent increase in instrument sales, the company said.
 
Qiagen CEO Peer Schatz said 4 percent of the new revenue in the quarter came from the addition of 67 new products in 2006, including sample and assay technologies for research in the areas of epigenetics, gene expression, microRNA, proteomics, RNAi, applied testing, and molecular diagnostics.
 
R&D spending increased to $11 million from $9.7 million year over year.
 
The company said profit increased to $19.5 million from $16.9 million in the year-ago period.
 
Qiagen said it had around $430 million in cash and equivalents and $52.8 million in short-term investments as of Dec. 31, 2006.
 
The company said it expects 2007 revenues to increase to between $518 and $535 million from the $466 million it generated in 2006.

The Scan

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Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

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Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.