PARIS - Appligene Oncor, the Strasbourg-based supplier of biological substances and equipment to organizations researching the human genome, has reported higher sales and a reduced loss in 1998. Revenues increased by 9.8 percent to Euro6.5 million (FFr42.4 million, or US$44.9 million) from FFr38.6 million in 1997, while the net loss was 57.4 percent down at Euro1.5 million in 1998, from FFr23 million the year before.

The company attributes this outcome to a successful sales push for its "high value-added reagents" in France, the U.K. and Germany and to a reduction in operating costs. Costs were cut by 20 percent between the first and second halves of 1998, resulting in a 37.2 percent reduction in the operating loss to FFr10.8 million for the year as a whole, from FFr17.2 million in 1997.

In the first quarter of this year, revenues fell slightly to Euro1.5 million from Euro1.6 million in the corresponding three months of 1998, although the net loss was reduced by 37.5 percent to Euro350,000 from Euro560,000. Revenues declined because of the loss of Oncor's business, due to the fact that OncorEurope SAS sold its controlling shareholding in Appligene to Canada's Quantum Biotechnologies Inc., in February.

However, the company, which said it will change its name to Quantum Appligene, will take charge of the activities of its new parent company's French subsidiary. It has also formed new partnerships, including with Cytocell Limited, which has enabled it to round off its product offering in the field of cytogenetics. As a result of these various developments, Quantum Appligene expects to break even in 1999. - James Etheridge