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Executive Briefing.

News, Trends & Market Intelligence for Instrument Executives

Apogent Makes Two More Acquisitions

Portsmouth, NH 4/10/01--Apogent has acquired UK-based Advanced Biotechnologies Ltd., also known as ABgene. ABgene manufactures and sells biology reagents, plastic consumables and instruments for the life science and medical research market, specializing in products for genomics, proteomics, drug discovery and high-throughput screening. Sales for the last year were approximately $21 million, growing at approximately 20%, according to Apogent. Apogent cited the company's innovative products, life science focus, PCR product line and synergy with its current product lines as reasons for the acquisition. Apogent also acquired Kimble Glass's disposable glass culture tube business, which it will integrate into its Chase Scientific Glass subsidiary.

Apogent continues to grow and grow, appearing to be successfully charting a strategy based on acquisitions. Apogent stated that the ABgene acquisition will bring its sales to the genomics, proteomics and drug discovery markets to approximately $200 million. Apogent's focus is clearly an life science at the moment, as it should be. However, it has wisely not neglected other markets, as demonstrated by the Chase Scientific acquisition.

Myriad Genetics, Hitachi, Oracle Team Undertake Mapping of Proteome

Salt Lake City UT, Tokyo, Japan and Redwood, CA 4/4/01--Myriad Genetics, Hitachi Ltd. and Oracle have announced that they will map the human proteome by 2004. The resulting database of all human protein interactions, biochemical pathways and purified proteins will be sold by Myriad Proteomics, of which Myriad Genetics owns half. The $185 million project will utilize Myriad's ProNet protein interaction technology and its ProSpec mass spectrometry technology, valued at $82 million, in a "shotgun" approach. Hitachi, Oracle and Friedli Corporate Finance, a Swiss investment banking firm, together will contribute $85 million in cash and $18 million in technology. Hitachi will supply its electronics technology and Oracle will supply its proteomics software.

Understandably, this project has met with some skepticism and will join similar, but smaller scale efforts, by other biotech companies such as Integrative Proteomics, and efforts by the Human Proteome Organization and government and academic organizations. This project means a steady stream of instrument and consumables sales. According to, Hitachi, Oracle and Fredli own the other half of Myriad Proteomics and Hitachi will exclusively distribute the database in Asia.

Applied Bio Wins Ruling

Foster City, CA and London, UK 4/9/01--A US district court has granted summary judgment in favor of Applied Biosystems, ruling that its ABI Prism BigDye Version 3.0 seqencing chemistry does not infringe upon Amersham Pharmacia Biotech's patent No. 5,688,648. However, the patent infringment suit regarding BigDye Versions 1.0 and 2.0 products is expected to go to trial shortly (see IBO 1/31/01).

This is a significant ruling in that ABI can now sell its latest Productivity Pack product, which includes BigDye Version 3.0, without threat of legal action. It also lessens the potential monetary impact on ABI.

Pharmacopeia Forms New Software Company

Princeton, NJ 4/2/01--Pharmacopeia has combined four of its software companies, Genetics Computer Group, Molecular Simulations, Oxford Molecular and Synopsys Scientific Systems, to form a new subsidiary called Accelrys. The new company, which will begin operating as of June 1, 2001, had pro forma revenues of over $90 million in 2000. Pharmacopeia commented that the new company enables the greater integrating of software products and services for pharmaceutical discovery and chemical development. Accelrys will also provide consulting services.

The formation of a software subsidiary makes sense for Phamacopeia as it seeks to resources in the rapidly growing, but increasingly competitive, life science software market and separates its software business from its Drug Discovery business. Although the two businesses serve the same clientele, they operate differently.

Dionex Signs Microfluidics Agreement

Sunnyvale, CA 4/12/01--Dionex has partnered with Micronics, a microfluidics company, to co-develop on-line microfluidic sample preparation devices for chromatographic analysis utilizing Micronics' H-Filter technology. H-Filter technology employs laminar flow on disposable chips to extract small molecules from a matrix. Dionex cited the technology's ability to extract high yields from small volumes without sample loss as its advantage.

This is a new direction for Dionex which it hopes will differentiate it in the highly competitive LC market. This is also a somewhat new path for Micronics which has traditionally focused on purely clinical applications though partnerships with Beckman Coulter and Honeywell.

Bruker Wins German Litigation

Billerica, MA and Bremen, Germany 4/12/01--Bruker Daltonics announced that the District Court Duesselforf Germany in a written decision ruled that the Finnigan GCQ and LCQ multipole ion trap mass spectrometers infringed upon Bruker's European patent EP 0 336 990. In addition, Thermo-Finnigan (now Thermo Electron) was found liable for damages and costs to be determined by the court. Bruker Daltonics expects to post a bond shortly, after which the court is expected to order Thermo Finnigan and its German affiliates and distributors "to cease and desist from offering, distributing, using or importing any GCQ or LCQ-series ion traps in Germany."

This ruling, in combination with last year's ruling favor of ThermoQuest over similar ion trap technology (see IBO 4/15/00), is expected to stop the sale of all ion trap technology from both companies in Germany. Thermo Finnigan associates include Agilent and Beckman. This opens the door for other ion trap MS companies such as Hitachi and Varian to gain ground in the German MS market.
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Publication:Instrument Business Outlook
Date:Apr 15, 2001
Previous Article:The Top 25 Companies of 2000.
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