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Quest Diagnostics Inc. (DGX - Analyst Report) announced a multi-year deal with Life Technologies Corporation . Per the deal, Quest Diagnostics can use Life Technologies’ Ion Torrent, a next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform for the development of molecular tests.

Quest Diagnostics had signed a similar agreement with Illumina Inc. (ILMN - Analyst Report), whereby it will be allowed to use the latter’s MiSeq sequencing and genotyping technology platform and related reagents for molecular laboratory-developed tests.

These deals are consistent with Quest Diagnostic’s aim of becoming a global leader in diagnostic and healthcare services.

Next generation sequencing is a hi-tech platform designed to perform advanced research on DNA or RNA molecules. With access to platforms like Ion Torrent and MiSeq, Quest Diagnostics will be in a position to develop innovative molecular tests and deliver results speedily and accurately. Management expects to gain momentum by focusing on diverse fields of treatment such as different types of cancer, neurology and women’s health.

Quest Diagnostics has been working on strengthening its suite of diagnostic tests for quite some time now. In 2013, Quest Diagnostics launched BRCAvantage to assess mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes related to hereditary breast cancer. The company also offers advanced testing services for myelodysplastic syndromes.

In a bid to enhance its diagnostics services, Quest Diagnostics acquired ConVerge Diagnostic Services and the lab-related operations of Dignity Health and UMass Memorial Medical Center in 2013. Quest Diagnostics also introduced the Opioid Therapy Genetic Test which was aimed towards providing effective pain relief.

Currently, Quest Diagnostics has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). A better-ranked stock in the broader healthcare industry is Almost Family Inc. (AFAM - Snapshot Report), sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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