First-Quarter Growth for Life Science Sales Index Slows

This issue, IBO has made a couple of changes to its Life Science Sales Index. Beckman Coulter’s Life Science division, which includes the company’s centrifugation, life science automation and capillary electrophoresis-based systems, and Illumina were added to the Index.

First-quarter 2008 Life Science Index sales grew 8.9% to $2,195 million compared to 9.7% growth in the previous first quarter. Revenue growth benefited from favorable currency transactions and increased sales for instrument products despite weaker demand from the pharmaceutical markets. Operating profit for the Index improved 19.9% to $361 million and operating margin gained 150 basis points to 16.4% of sales due to strong operating results from Biotage AB and QIAGEN NV. Of the 16 Index companies, Genetix and Tecan are the only two companies for which first-quarter estimates have been used.

First-quarter sales for Beckman Coulter’s Life Science segment grew 18.3%, or 12.8% on a currency-neutral basis, to $110.5 million to account for 15.1% of total revenues. The company reported strong growth for instrument products, including centrifuges and life sciences automation, which each grew over 20%. Sales in the US rose 11.0%, while international sales improved 24.3%, 14.4% on a currency-neutral basis, due to strong demand in emerging markets. Operating profits soared almost ten-fold to $12.0 million, benefiting from higher sales and lower operating costs, including reduced R&D spending.

BD Biosciences’ fiscal second-quarter revenues grew 13.8% to $294.1 million to make up 16.8% of Becton Dickinson’s sales. Foreign-currency transactions added approximately 6% to revenue growth. Demand for research instruments and clinical reagents led revenues higher, despite a decline in orders from large drug companies. Cell Analysis sales climbed 16.7% to $219.7 million, while Discovery Labware sales rose 5.8% to $74.4 million. Operating income for the segment jumped 23.7% to $84.0 million, and operating margins climbed 230 basis points to 28.6% of sales.

First-quarter sales for Biotage declined 4.1% to SEK 114.0 million ($18.2 million = SEK 6.27 = $1) from SEK 118.9 million ($16.9 million = SEK 7.02 = $1) (see page 12). At constant exchange rates, sales grew 2%. Operating income improved 22.6% to SEK 8.9 million ($1.4 million), leading operating profit margins 170 basis points higher to 7.8% of sales. Gross margins rose 45 basis points to 62.6% of sales. Discovery Chemistry sales declined 6.2% to SEK 88.9 million ($14.2 million), but were flat on a currency-neutral basis. Revenue growth was led by higher sales of consumables and evaporation products, but was offset by weaker demand from pharmaceutical companies for purification products. Operating profits for the segment grew 155.2% to SEK 7.4 million ($1.2 million), while gross margins fell 70 basis points to 61.6% of sales due to a change in product mix and increased expenditures. European revenue climbed 900 basis points, but US revenues fell 900 basis points to make up 53% and 34% of Discovery Chemistry sales, respectively. Sales to other countries were flat.

Biotage’s Biosystems sales grew 3.7%, 11% at constant exchange rates, to SEK 25.0 million ($4.0 million), led by demand for Pyrosequencing products, as the company sold 26 units. Operating profit rose 16.7% to SEK 7.7 million ($1.2 million), while gross margins improved 440 basis points to 68.8% of sales, benefiting from direct sales. Sales to Europe and Rest of the World grew 100 basis points and 300 basis points to make up 41% and 13% of Biosystems’ sales, respectively. US sales declined 400 basis points to account for 46% to sales.

Caliper Life Sciences’ first-quarter sales grew 3.0% to $29.3 million, but were flat on a currency-neutral basis. Product and Service revenues climbed 15.8% and 0.9% to account for 60.3% and 30.8% of sales, respectively, while License and Contract revenue declined 38.5% to make up 8.9% of sales. Product revenue benefited from a 20% growth in sales of liquid handling and automation products, particularly Staccato systems and Zephyr liquid handlers, as well as from a 26% increase in sales of optical imaging products due to higher sales of the IVIS Spectrum. Microfluidic products sales slipped 0.7% on account of lower datapoint revenues. However, excluding the lower datapoint revenues, sales of chips and reagent consumables improved 1.4%. License revenue was negatively impacted by lower research revenues, including a loss of a one-time microfluidic patent payment in the previous year. Adjusted operating loss widened to $7.7 million from a loss of $7.0 million, while gross profit margins declined over three percentage points to 40.3% of sales. Second-quarter revenue growth is expected to be flat or marginally lower at $33–$36 million, while full-year revenues are forecasted to grow 1%–5% to $142–$148 million.

QIAGEN’s first-quarter revenues grew 62.0% to $207.1 million, including 9% growth from currency transactions and 43% growth from acquisitions. Consumables and Instrument sales grew 68% and 11%, including 9% and 8% growth from favorable currency transactions, to make up 92% and 7% of sales, respectively. Other sales, primarily services, jumped 71%, or 59% at constant exchange rates, to represent 1% of sales. North American sales grew 112.6% to account for 51.4% of revenues, while German and Swiss sales, combined, rose 30.3% to represent 17%. Asian sales increased 25.5% to approximately 10% of sales, led by China, Singapore and Korea. Rest of World sales rose 29.4% to make up 21% of sales. Adjusted operating income jumped 74.5% to $56.7 million. Operating profit margins improved 200 basis points to 27.4% of sales, benefiting from synergies following the acquisition of Digene. Adjusted gross margins climbed 385 basis points to 73.4% of sales. Second-quarter revenues are anticipated to increase 10% organically to $127–$130 million.

Sequenom’s first-quarter revenues grew 6.9% to $10.6 million. Consumables revenue improved 11.0% to account for 44% of sales, benefiting from higher sales of MassARRAY Compact systems, while revenue for genetic analysis contract research services jumped 75.5% to represent 13% of sales. Service revenue was strong due to demand from the commercial, clinical analysis and academic research markets. System-related revenue fell 8.3% to $4.5 million to make up 43% of sales due to lower sales of MassARRAY system hardware primarily in the research and academic markets. Research and Other revenue were higher, but accounted for only 0.5% of sales. The company’s operating loss doubled to $8.6 million due to accelerated expenditures for product development costs and higher personnel expenses. R&D and sales and marketing expenses increased 70% and 68% to account for 46% and 55% of sales, respectively. However, gross margins improved 50 basis points to 55.8% of sales due to favorable product mix. Full-year revenues are forecasted to grow approximately 30% to $50–$53 million.

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