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Recently, Life Technologies Corporation announced the launch of its Applied Biosystems QuantStudio Dx Real-Time PCR Instrument. The QuantStudio Dx is an in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) medical device which has the European CE Mark Approval. The company plans to submit the QuantStudio Dx to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 510(k) clearance in December 2012.

The QuantStudio Dx is being marketed with the CE marked Quidel Molecular Assay for C. difficile, used for the detection of hospital-acquired infections. Life Technologies currently distributes the Quidel Molecular Assay.

The unique features of the QuantStudio Dx will improve the standard of care by increasing the accuracy of various diagnostic functions such as pathogen detection, gene expression analysis, SNP genotyping, copy number analysis, mutation detection, micro-RNA and other non-coding RNA analysis, and high-resolution melt analysis.

According to DeciBio, the market size for IVD in Europe is currently $14 billion and $52 billion globally. By 2015, it is projected to increase to $17 billion in Europe and $70 billion worldwide. Also worth mentioning in this context is that the European market contributes 30% to company-wide revenues. Thus, the launch of QuantStudio Dx presents a significant opportunity for Life Technologies to garner incremental revenues in the European market.

Moreover, the market for molecular tests is the fastest growing segment of the diagnostic market. As a result, the launch will enable the company to expand its foothold in the high-growth avenue. Life Technologies already markets the CE-IVD marked Applied Biosystems 3500 Dx Genetic Analyzer as well as the AcroMetrix line of quality controls for molecular diagnostic assays.

Our Take

Life Technologies enjoys a strong position in the life sciences market. We are optimistic about the company’s focus on its diagnostics franchise, which holds potential. We also note Life Technologies’ efforts to expand its footprint in high-growth markets through partnerships, acquisitions and product innovation.

Life Technologies has been working on enhancing its diagnostic franchise over the recent past, both organically and inorganically. The company expects compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% for its molecular diagnostic franchise through 2016.

However, the competitive landscape is tough with the presence of players such as Illumina (ILMN - Analyst Report), and Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO - Analyst Report) among others. Economic uncertainties lowering discretionary spending and currency are the major headwinds for Life Technologies, as reflected in the company’s third quarter 2012 results.

We currently have a ‘Neutral’ recommendation on Life Technologies. The stock carries a Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) in the short term.

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