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Qiagen NV (QGEN - Free Report) recently announced its plans to launch QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube in China. The product was awarded China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) approval earlier this year but Qiagen has chosen to commercially launch it on World TB Day 2014 on Mar 24.  

The QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube is a blood test designed to diagnose the mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) bacterium in people (both with latent tuberculosis infection and active tuberculosis disease).QuantiFERON-TB is being adopted by most health care providers worldwide as it has demonstrated itself as a faster, more precise and cost-effective method, at the same time being user friendly. This next-generation blood test has the capacity to steadily supplant the century-old tuberculin skin test (TST) used in screening TB infections.

Qiagen’s QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube is among the five growth drivers of the company. The product’s sales rose by more than 20% at Constant Exchange Rate (CER) in 2013 contributing to 6% of total sales in 2013. Encouraged by the popularity of the product in major markets like Europe and the U.S., management at Qiagen is set to capitalize on this opportunity by expanding its geographical presence. The product launch in China marks a step toward the attainment of this growth strategy.

China­– the world’s second largest market for TB tests, records tentatively 1 million new active TB cases per year. Per the World Health Organization (WHO), one-third of the world's population suffers from latent TB infection.  With urbanization on the rise in China, the incidence and spread of this infection through transmission is only likely to increase. Having recognized the potential that China holds in the field of TB testing, Qiagen expects QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube to witness high adoptability in the country and meet its sales expectation of over $100 million in 2014.

QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube is also capable of providing accurate results without being affected by the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccinationunlike TST. BCG vaccination is mandatory for the new-born in certain countries like China. Thus, this poses another plausible reason why the product has huge market potential in China.

Currently, Qiagen carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader healthcare sector are Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN - Free Report) , Alkermes plc (ALKS - Free Report) and ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ANIP - Free Report) . All the three stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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