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Robert Ragusa, Stuart Lacock, Andrew MacDonald, Invitrogen, Bruker, JGI


Robert Ragusa has joined Affymetrix as senior vice president of global operations, a spokesperson for the company told BioCommerce Week sister publication GenomeWeb News last week. He previously served as senior vice president of global operations for Applied Biosystems.

Ragusa joined Affy on June 27. According to the spokesperson, Ragusa will fill a new position created to help the company increase its "attention to supply chain and logistics." He will be charged with overseeing array manufacturing, instrument manufacturing, procurement, facilities, and real estate, the spokesperson said.

Stuart Lacock has been named vice president of North American sales for SciGene, the company said last week. Lacock most recently served as national sales manager for Continental Laboratory Products, and formerly held sales and sales management positions at Bio-Rad Laboratories, Fisher Scientific, and CPI International. At SciGene, Lacock will be charged with selling the company's high-throughput microarray systems to the US and Canadian markets.

Andrew MacDonald has become head of the new microarray technologies division of Genesis Diagnostics, said the Littleport, UK-based company which specializes in manufacturing ELISA-based diagnostic kits. He used to be a manager with Genomic Solutions, the unit of Harvard Bioscience that will soon be divested (see related article).


BioCommerce Briefs

Invitrogen Posts Strong Q2 Revenue Gains; Income Down on Charge

Invitrogen last week reported a 21-percent increase in second-quarter revenue year over year, but a 24 percent drop in net earnings due to a one-time charge.

The Carlsbad, Calif.-based firm reported revenue of $306.5 million compared with $254 million in the second quarter last year. The company also beat analysts' consensus estimate of $301 million for the quarter.

Invitrogen's organic revenue growth was 7 percent, with 2 percent of growth coming from currency benefits and 12 percent attributed to acquisitions. During the quarter, the company completed its acquisitions of Dynal Biotech and Caltag Laboratories, two of several purchases the company has made this year. Earlier this week, Invitrogen announced that it would acquire proteins and reagents firm BioSource International for $130 million in cash.

Revenue growth was strongest in its BioDiscovery segment, which had 30 percent sales growth year over year, while the BioProduction unit had revenue growth of 9 percent. BioProduction was pulled down by a softer quarter for the BioReliance business unit, according to Invitrogen Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier. He noted in a conference call following the release of the results that BioReliance had "incredible" growth last year, and he believes the BioProduction unit as a whole is "trending in the right direction."

The firm's R&D spending increased to $24.3 million from $18.2 million in the comparable quarter last year.

Invitrogen's net earnings dropped to $14.9 million, or $.27 per share, from $19.7 million, or $.36 per share, in the second quarter last year. However, the firm noted that it took a one-time charge of $13 million in the most recent quarter related to costs associated with its purchase of Dynal.

Invitrogen has been a very aggressive acquirer over the past couple of years and has been expanding its reach into new geographic areas and market segments.

The company is forecasting fiscal 2005 revenue of $1.2 billion and earnings per share of $3.50 to $3.53.

As of June 30, Invitrogen held $931.9 million in cash and investments.

Bruker Q2 Organic Revenue up 8 Percent

Bruker BioSciences this week reported second-quarter revenue of $71.4 million, an 11.3 percent increase over revenue of $64.1 million in the second quarter last year. The growth included a 3.3 percent favorable currency effect.

Though the results improved year over year, the Q2 sales represent the second sequential quarter in which revenue dropped. The firm had fourth quarter 2004 revenue of $85.8 million and first quarter 2005 revenue of $74.9 million. Bruker had cautioned earlier this year that the first quarter was traditionally the "lowest quarter of the year" in terms of sales (see BioCommerce Week 3/10/2005). The firm did not provide a reason why overall sales dropped 5 percent from the first quarter.

The firm's Bruker Daltonics business, which derives roughly 70 percent of its revenue from life-science mass spectrometry systems, generated sales of $37.4 million, a gain of 7.1 percent over the comparable period last year — and 3.6 percent when currency benefits are factored in. The Bruker AXS business, which makes X-ray analysis equipment, had sales of $34.1 million in the quarter, a 16.4 percent increase over last year's second-quarter revenue of $29.3 million.

Frank Laukien, president and CEO of Bruker, said during a conference call following the release of the results that the firm was "pleased to achieve these results despite some geographical weaknesses in spending in the US and Germany." He added, "Germany is a little weak across the board right now, and I think it will remain so until probably six to eight weeks after the election. That's a temporary effect that has to do more with the German market than with our product lines."

Laukien said that sales weakness in the US was primarily due to reduced academic spending. He also cited customers possibly delaying orders as they wait for launches of the new products exhibited at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Conference in June.

Bruker reported Q2 net earnings of $300,000, or $0.0 per share, compared with a net loss of $4.4 million, or $.05 per share, in last year's Q2.

The firm's R&D spending rose to $11 million from $10.3 million year over year.

As of June 30, Bruker listed cash and short-term investments of $92 million.

JGI Purchases 454 Sequencing System

The US Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute has purchased a $500,000 genome sequencing system from 454 Life Sciences, an institute official said this week.

454, a subsidiary of CuraGen, has developed a system that accelerates sequencing processes through the use of microfluidics and other methods of miniaturizing current technology. Previously, the Brandford, Conn.-based company offered use of the system as a service.

454 installed the first system at Harvard University's and MIT's Broad Institute earlier this year.

454 recently described its sequencing technology in a paper in the July 31 online issue of Nature. In the paper, researchers from the company used the system to re-sequence 580,069 bases of the genome of the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium in one four-hour run with up to 99.99 percent accuracy — a 100-fold increase in throughput over current sequencing technology, according to the company.

Earlier this year, the firm signed an agreement under which Roche Diagnostics will exclusively sell its sequencing system.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.