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Leading diagnostic test solutions provider Quidel Corporation’s (QDEL - Snapshot Report) fourth-quarter fiscal 2011 adjusted earnings (excluding one-time items other than stock-based compensation expense) of 8 cents a share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents.

On a reported basis, the company turned to a profit in the quarter on the back of higher sales. The California-based company posted a profit of roughly $1 million (or 3 cents a share) in the reported quarter compared with a loss of $0.4 million (or 2 cents a share) a year ago.

For the full year, adjusted earnings of 39 cents a share topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 25 cents a share. Profit (as reported) for the year was $7.6 million (or 23 cents a share) versus a loss of $11.3 million (or 39 cents a share).

Revenues soared 21% year over year to $38.4 million in the fourth quarter, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $37 million. Sales were boosted by growth across the company’s infectious disease (up 28% to $27.3 million) and women's health (up 8% to $8.2 million) businesses. Both Strep A and RSV product lines grew 8% in the quarter.

For fiscal 2011, revenues zoomed 40% year over year to $158.6 million, also ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $157 million. 

Gross margin increased to 60% in the quarter from 56% a year ago, helped by better product mix, manufacturing efficiency gains and sustained cost containment initiatives. Operating expense rose 13.5% year over year to $21 million.

Quidel exited fiscal 2011 with cash and cash equivalents of $61.3 million (a nine-fold annualized increase) with long-term debt of $48 million, down 40% year over year.

Quidel develops and markets diagnostic solutions aimed at improving patient outcomes and offering economic benefits to the healthcare system. The company’s products are designed to detect and diagnose a host of critical diseases such as influenza, RSV, herpes and thyroid disease. Quidel competes with Alere Inc (ALR - Snapshot Report), among others.

Quidel, in late 2011, won the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for its new virus test dubbed the “Quidel Molecular hMPV Assay”. The test is designed for the detection of human metapneumovirus (hMPV) infection.

Moreover, Quidel, in December 2011, received the European CE Mark for its Sofia Streptococcus A (“Strep A”) test for use with its Sofia Analyzer. In total, Quidel developed 10 products in 2011, of which 4 and 5 were approved in the U.S. and Europe, respectively.

The company’s rapidly expanding range of molecular diagnostics tests is expected to offer a number of important benefits to the end-users including increased ease of use and lower processing time.

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