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Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (SIAL - Analyst Report) announced that its biological products and services business – Sigma Life Science – has launched a novel editing tool Sigma CRISPRs. CRISPRs are a mammalian genome editing tool appropriate for screening and exploratory studies. They are inexpensive tools that can be used for the development of targeted gene editing.

Sigma-Aldrich CRISPRs are obtained from bacterial and archaeal immune defenses, which guard against invading viruses and foreign DNA. CRISPRs use customizable RNA–nuclease complexes that allow introduction of genome edits at a desired site in mammalian genomes with high efficiency.

Sigma-Aldrich also has an exclusive online bioinformatics tool where CRISPRs can be custom-designed. It is the only commercial tool that automatically applies CRISPR/Cas best design practices, including a minimum requirement of three base-pair mismatches between the target site and other sites in the genome, thereby reducing the possibility of off-target effects.

Researchers can request CRISPR/Cas targets obtained from their own design preferences or they can take the help of Sigma's expert CompoZr Zinc Finger Nuclease (ZFN) bioinformatics team to produce a custom design based on cutting-edge public and proprietary CRISPR guidelines.

ZFNs are the gold standard in gene technology and have been instrumental in creating Sigma CRISPRs which provide researchers a quicker and more affordable way to screen genes of interest.

Sigma-Aldrich released its second quarter 2013 results in Jul. The company posted adjusted earnings of $1.05 per share, above the year-ago earnings of 97 cents. The results beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.03. The adjusted earnings exclude other charges of 7 cents a share.

Profit as reported, rose roughly 3.5% year over year to $119 million (or 98 cents per share) in the quarter from $115 million (or 94 cents per share) a year ago.

Net sales increased 3% year over year to $681 million in the reported quarter, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $679 million. Organic sales growth in the quarter was 4%, while foreign exchange translation had a negative impact of 1%.

Adjusted operating margin for the second quarter was 26.1% compared with 25.8% recorded a year ago. Adjusted operating margin in the reported quarter excludes other charges of $12 million related to merger/acquisition activity and settlement of a licensing dispute.

Sigma-Aldrich currently maintains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the specialty chemical space with favorable Zacks Rank are Ferro Corp. (FOE - Snapshot Report), Minerals Technologies Inc. (MTX - Snapshot Report) and Sensient Technologies Corp. (SXT - Snapshot Report). While Ferro carries a Zacks rank#1 (Strong Buy), Minerals Technologies and Sensient Technologies retain a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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