Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

CYBERCULTURE | Heard on the Beat

Hard Times at Hycor

July 20, 1998|BARBARA MARSH

A management shake-up at Hycor Biomedical Inc. last week marked the latest attempt by a struggling Southern California biotech outfit to find its way. The loss-ridden Garden Grove maker of lab equipment and tests for disease forced out its longtime chairman and chief executive, Dr. Richard D. Hamill. On Wednesday, the day of the announcement, the stock advanced 19 cents a share to close at $2, a far cry from its peak of $8.50 in 1990. Hycor shares closed Friday at $2.06, up 6 cents.

Hamill, 59, who worked his last day Friday, acknowledged that the company needs new direction after failing to effect a financial turnaround as promised.

The company named J. David Tholen, hired in January as the company's No. 2 executive, to replace Hamill as chief executive.

Hycor is one of the many biotechs founded in the 1980s on little more than an idea and a public stock offering. Hamill, hired as its CEO in 1983, when it went public, soon discovered its basic technology--for control of diabetes and cancer detection--couldn't be commercialized, he said.

He shut down the company's research operation, bought a Fountain Valley maker of other diagnostic tests, and moved the company's headquarters to Orange County.

The company made other acquisitions and built annual earnings to $2.8 million on sales of $26 million by 1994. But, Hamill said, problems in developing European markets and new products have delayed the company's return to profitability. Last year, it posted a loss of $4.3 million on sales of $19.3 million.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|