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Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (SIAL - Analyst Report) announced a collaboration between Sigma Advanced Genetic Engineering (SAGE) Labs - an initiative of Sigma Life Science and Ekam Imaging, Inc. based in Boston, to develop a suite of preclinical services. These services will deploy the advanced translational power of genetically engineered rat models from SAGE Labs and Ekam's expertise in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology.
Currently, fMRI studies are performed in drug development that requires anesthetized and unconscious animals. However, Ekam Imaging's fMRI translational technology produces detailed map of a conscious animal's brain activity, a state that much better represents the human condition compared to the fMRI studies. By mapping a conscious animal’s brain functions, especially rats, the data that is produced better represents the potential therapy's effects on human processes.
The rat models that are created by SAGE Labs are genetically modified and reflect patient-relevant mutations and exhibit highly relevant and robust phenotypes. The studies provided by SAGE and Ekam will lead to better drugs targeting neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
Ekam Imaging is currently producing a detailed map of neural activity in SAGE Lab's Pink1 gene knockout rat, which exhibits delayed-onset motor deficits, a key phenotype of Parkinson's disease in humans. Both Sigma-Aldrich and Ekam are planning to launch the services specific to SAGE Labs' neuroscience rat models in early 2013.
Sigma Life Science is the innovative biological products and services research wing of Sigma-Aldrich. Sigma-Aldrich released its second-quarter 2012 results in July. The company posted adjusted earnings of 97 cents per share for the quarter, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate but ahead of the year-ago earnings of 93 cents. Profit, as reported, marginally increased year over year to $115 million or 94 cents per share from $113 million or 91 cents in the year-ago quarter.
Revenues rose 4% year over year to $664 million in the quarter, aided by acquisitions. The company saw growth across its Research Chemicals and Fine Chemicals (“SAFC”) divisions.
Sigma-Aldrich expects organic growth to be low-to-mid single digits in 2012. Macroeconomic uncertainties may hinder its Research Chemicals business whereas growth in Bioscience and Hitech business is expected to drive SAFC sales in the remainder of the year. Further, the acquisitions of BioReliance and Research Organics are expected to boost sales by 6%.
Sigma-Aldrich, a close peer of Bayer AG (BAYRY - Analyst Report), currently maintains a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term (1 to 3 months) Buy rating. We have a long-term (more than 6 months) Neutral recommendation on the stock.