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Agilent (A) Gets FDA Approval for Cervical Cancer Test Assay

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Agilent Technologies (A - Free Report) recently received approval from the FDA for a cervical cancer diagnostic assay, named PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx, for  expanded use.

Following the FDA approval, PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx became the first IHC test for determining PD-L1 expression in cervical cancer. Also, it is now the first FDA-approved companion diagnostic to identify patients with cervical cancer for treatment with KEYTRUDA.

KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy manufactured by Merck & Co. MRK.

This new step facilitates the company to expand in the growing cancer-diagnostic market.

Coming to share price, Agilent has underperformed its industry on a year-to-date basis. The stock has registered a loss of 11.59% against the industry’s growth of 13.47%.

Agilent’s Role in Healthcare

Currently, the healthcare sector is undergoing a revolution. Personalized medicine is taking the center stage as it provides improved patient care and better manages costs by administering the most appropriate treatment to individuals. It has been found that all treatments are not suitable for those suffering from a specific disease and some require more specialized tests.

The advancements could have far-reaching effects on the entire healthcare system, as personalized medicines considerably improve patient care while reducing medical bills.

Agilent has signed several collaborative agreements with pharma and biotech companies on companion diagnostics for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Bottom Line

We remain positive about Agilent's broad-based portfolio and increased focus on segments with higher growth potential. Further, the company continues to introduce high-margin products.

According to a report from marketsandmarkets.com, the worldwide cancer diagnostics market may reach $13.1 billion by 2020 from 2015 level of $7.1 billion, driven by several technological advancements in diagnostic platforms.

We believe that the new assay will help Agilent to cash in on the fast-growing healthcare cancer-diagnostics segment.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Currently, Agilent carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same industry include Groupon (GRPN - Free Report) , PetMed Express and Expedia (EXPE - Free Report) . While Groupon sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), PetMed and Expedia both carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth for Groupon, PetMed and Expedia is currently projected to be 6.5%, 10% and 14.5%, respectively.

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