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DiaMed helps Bio-Rad to strong growth in 07

By David Robson , 04-Mar-2008

Bio-Rad Laboratories has reported strong growth in the last quarter of 2007, with a 34 per cent increase in revenue compared to the last quarter of 2006. These results have contributed to an overall 14.7 per cent increase in sales for 2007, to $1.46bn.

The $459.7m revenue for the fourth quarter - compared to $343.1m in 2006 - was in part due to the recent acquisition of DiaMed Holding, a Swiss company that specialises in immunohaematology products and services. DiaMed has now been incorporated into both of Bio-Rad's key divisions - the Life Science and Clinical Dianostics segments - and the acquisition contributed an additional revenue of $62m.


Even when this has been accounted for, the company still experienced a 9.0 per cent currency-neutral increase in the fourth quarter and a 5.2 per cent year-on-year growth in sales.


"Obviously the contribution of $62m in fourth quarter 2007 revenues from DiaMed is a large piece of [this growth], but additionally the ongoing strong growth across a wide range of product lines within both our Life Science and Diagnostics businesses all contributed to our success in 2007," said Tina Cuccia, a spokesperson for Bio-Rad.


The net sales for the Life Science segment in the fourth quarter amounted to $184.5m, an currency neutral increase of 9.4 per cent compared to the same period last year. Sales of process chromatography media and hardware were strong as the products continued to gain broad market acceptance, said Bio-Rad. These materials are used during the purification stages in the manufacture of a variety of pharmaceuticals with a particular applicability to monoclonal antibody-based medicines.


Full-year reported revenues for the Life Science segment were $615.1m, an increase of 6.9 per cent compared to last year, which equates to 2.7 per cent on a currency-neutral basis. However, it is thought the growth in the Life Sciences Segment was tempered by a decrease in BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) testing revenues as both the number of animals tested and the average selling price continues to decline.


According to Cuccia, the results in this division benefited significantly from successful sales of the ProteOn protein interaction array system, the Bio-Plex suspension array system and reagents, and the ProteinChip SELDI system. The last months of 2007 also saw the introduction of Bio-Rad's next-generation polymerase chain reaction (PCR) instruments, and the ProteoMiner protein enrichment kits, which are said to have benefited the revenues of 2007, and it is hoped similar investments will contribute to strong growth in 2008.


"We have just launched a complete new line of amplification instrumentation, featuring the 1000-series thermal cycling platform and the CFX real time thermal cyclers," said Cuccia. "These launches coupled with new solutions for expressed protein purification and proteomics sample preparation give us good momentum going into this year."


The Clinical Diagnostics segment has also experienced significant growth, with a 9.0 per cent increase in revenue excluding the effects of currency fluctuations and the DiaMed acquisition. These results have benefited from the popularity of the BioPlex 2200 system; Bio-Rad has recently announced a two-year contract with Quest Diagnostics' facilities that resulted in the installation of 50 systems over 2007.

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