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Dako, an Agilent Technologies (A - Analyst Report) subsidiary, received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its newly-launched IQISH technology in the U.S.

The technology from Dako greatly speeds up the evaluation of cancer cells to determine suitable treatment. The entire process now takes just three and a half hours, a great improvement over the two days it took previously. This allows doctors to start treatment as soon as possible.          

Agilent had acquired the Danish cancer diagnostics company, Dako, for $2.2 billion (on a debt-free basis) last year. Dako provides antibodies, scientific instruments and software mainly to cancer-related diagnostic labs and collaborates with drug companies for the development of methods to identify patients likely to benefit from certain therapies.

Dako has collaborated with other pharmaceutical giants such as Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY - Analyst Report) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Analyst Report) for developing technologies in the field of companion diagnostics to detect cancer. Thus, with these collaborations and the FDA approval for its IQISH technology, Agilent’s unit may help the ongoing research in companion diagnostics; thus improving the diagnostic process as a whole.

Agilent’s revenues in the third quarter were flat sequentially and up 1.9% year over year, short of management’s expectations of a 2-3% sequential increase ($1.77 billion to $1.79 billion). The newly-added Diagnostics and Genomics segment accounted for 9.0% of revenues in the last quarter, up 47.2% sequentially.

Currently, Agilent Technologies has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Another test equipment company, National Instruments Corp. (NATI - Snapshot Report), has a Zacks Rank #1, and is thus also worth considering.

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