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Shares of Hologic, Inc. (HOLX - Analyst Report) moved higher, thanks to the approval received by the company from Health Canada to use Aptima HPV assay in its fully automated Panther system. The shares gained marginally by 0.24% to close at $21.16 on Nov 15.

The Aptima HPV test can be now performed with Hologic's ThinPrep liquid cytology specimen and can be implemented before or after it has been processed for cytology testing on the ThinPrep 2000 system. The Aptima HPV mRNA based assay is a nucleic acid amplification nucleic acid amplification test which is designed to identify 14 high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) mostly seen in cervical cancer specimens as well as precancerous lesions.

The availability of the new assay is expected to be beneficial for Canadian women as lot of women are affected by this disease in Canada.

Research on female cancer has shown that cervical cancer is one of the most common types of cancer inflicting women worldwide. It has also been found that more than 99% of all cervical cancers are caused due to the Human papillomavirus (HPV). Under such circumstances, HPV testing is the only way to detect the presence of high-risk type of HPV in a woman’s cervix.

As immunization is available only against two common types of high-risk HPV (types 16 and 18), regular cervical screening using the Aptima HPV is believed to be extremely helpful to combat the potential risk of this fatal disease in women. Cervical screening combined with immunization can provide an effective shield against cervical cancer.

On Jun 23, 2013, Hologic had declared receipt of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the Aptima HPV assay for use on the company's fully-automated Panther system. The device has the CE mark necessary for its commercial use in the European Union and is also currently in use in several other Asian as well as African countries.

The PANTHER System is a renowned automation solution designed for a wide range of laboratory tests. Recently, Hologic’s APTIMA Trichomonas vaginalis assay also received the FDA approval and was included for use on the Panther System.

The continuous expansion of such available assays, especially the high value ones, complements Hologic’s strategy to boost revenues in its laboratory business. This new addition will also enable laboratories to conduct multiple tests from a single specimen using the company’s automated molecular testing platform.

Other Hologic diagnostic tests that have been cleared by Health Canada include the Aptima Combo 2 assay for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Currently, Hologic carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). While we chose to stay away from this stock at present, some better-performing medical instrument stocks that are worth a look include CryoLife Inc. (CRY - Snapshot Report) and Cynosure, Inc. (CYNO - Snapshot Report) carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Echo Therapeutics, Inc. sports a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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