Argonaut exits HPLC business

Related tags Clinical trial Pharmacology Drug discovery

Argonaut sells its HPLC business to Grace Vydac as it refocuses on
supplying consumables for companies working on drug discovery.
Reports reduced losses in first half.

Argonaut Technologies has divested its high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) business as it continues its strategy of refocusing its business on supplying chemistry consumables for pharmaceutical companies working on drug discovery.

All the HPLC business assets, including its Apex and Genesis brands, have been taken over by the Grace Vydac unit of W R Grace & Co,a supplier of catalysts and silica products, specialty construction chemicals, building materials, and sealants and coatings with annual sales of around $1.8 billion (€1.58bn). The value of the transaction has not been disclosed, although Argonaut said the deal would boost its cash coffers by around $1 million.

The completion of the transaction means that Argonaut's R&D, sales and marketing efforts are "focused on three areas critical to drug development: lead compound discovery and development, methods development for safety and toxicity testing, and chemical development for process scale-up to support clinical trials,"​ said the firm's chief executive, Lissa Goldenstein.

Meantime, Argonaut​ has reported interim 2003 results which saw sales rise 2 per cent to $13.1 million and net loss trimmed to $4.4 million from $6.3 million in the first half of 2002.

Goldenstein stressed that sales of the company's core products - chemistry consumables and instrumentation - grew by more than 30 per cent in the first half. She also said she was cheered by the sale of the first Advantage Series 3000 Process Chemistry Workstation to a company that was not involved in the original R&D consortium to develop the system, although cautioned that the performance of this product line in the future was hard to predict at this early stage.

Looking ahead to the second half of the year, Goldenstein predicted that revenues would be similar to the first half, while cost-savings would reduce the company's losses to $1.2-$1.6 million in the third quarter. The company expects to be cash flow-positive by year-end.

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