Nucleic acid specialist Qiagen has reported second quarter sales up a healthy 19 per cent to $86.3 million (€76m), ahead of expectations and helped by the firm's expansion into new product areas such as RNA interference (RNAi).
Gross profit rose 15 per cent to $56 million compared to the second quarter of 2002, while net income advanced 143 per cent to $11.1 million and earnings per share rose 167 per cent to $0.08.
Dr Metin Colpan, Qiagen's chief executive, said that the firm's acquisitions in 2002 of GenoVision and Xeragon were a major factor behind the strong performance.
The magnetic particle-based nucleic acid purification technology bought in alongside GenoVision led to a number of new product offerings, he said, adding: "these combined solutions exceeded targeted revenues and have been very well accepted in the marketplace."
With the acquisition of Xeragon, Qiagen was able to create a product line in RNAi, which is just starting to take off as a tool for drug discovery and as a therapeutic intervention in its own right. This is a key strategic area for Qiagen, which has already forged a partnership with Intradigm and yesterday announced two further collaborations with Novartis and amaxa.
The supply agreement with Novartis for small interfering RNA (siRNA) sequences is thought to be one of the largest to date, according to Colpan. Under the terms of the deal, Qiagen will supply a genome-wide siRNA library to Novartis for use in gene silencing experiments.
In the collaboration with amaxa, the two companies have agreed to co-market amaxa's innovative non-viral Nucleofector technology with Qiagen's HPP (High Performance Purity) grade siRNA oligos (based on its proprietary TOM-Amidite chemistry). The Nucleofector technology provides a non-viral means of transfecting cells with siRNA oligos and vectors.
Meanwhile, Qiagen's established business in DNA oligonucleotides grew by just 1 per cent over second-quarter 2002, but has increased profitability, said Colpan. Qiagen recently launched two new products in this category, version 3 of its Array Ready Oligo Sets (AROS) for the human and mouse genomes.
For the half-year, sales rose 16 per cent to $165.8 million, gross profit went up 12.5 per cent to $110 million and net income was $22.1 million, up 57 per cent.