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QIAGEN QFT-Plus Ok'd in Canada, Test Customer Base Expands

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QIAGEN N.V. (QGEN - Free Report) recently announced the receipt of Health Canada’s approval for QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus) as an in vitro diagnostic to detect latent tuberculosis (TB) infection.

Built on the QuantiFERON-TB Gold (QFT) platform, QFT-Plus provides enhanced analysis of TB infection. This advanced kit makes TB testing with innovative antigens possible as it measures the cell-mediated immune response from both CD4 and CD8-T cells. Per the company, CD8-T cells have been proved to play a major role in Mycobacterium tuberculosis immunity. Furthermore, this fourth generation of QuantiFERON-TB technology allows for expanded blood collection options. Banking on high sensitivity and specificity, the QFT-Plus delivers more accurate results than the traditional tuberculin skin test.

We believe this approval will help QIAGEN expand its customer base and drive the uptake of QFT-Plus test, thereby boosting the top line.

Market Prospects

QIAGEN has been witnessing substantial demand for the QuantiFERON-TB diagnostic test kit. Per the company, it has witnessed successful uptake of the QFT-Plus in more than 75 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, with around two million of new tests being used there already.

According to QIAGEN, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates around 10 million new  active TB cases globally and 1.6 million deaths from TB in 2017. Furthermore, around one out of three people are estimated to have latent TB infection. If left untreated, 5-10% of those people will progress to active tuberculosis at some point. 

Moreover, per Research and Markets data published on Business Wire, the global TB diagnostics market is expected to see a CAGR of 4.5% between 2017 and 2025. Considering the bullish market sentiments, we believe that the latest development has arrived at an opportune moment.

QIAGEN’s Progress With QFT So far

The QuantiFERON-TB diagnostic test kit falls under QIAGEN’s Molecular Diagnostics segment, which was the highest revenue grosser in the last reported quarter. Notably, the segment contributed 50% to total revenues on solid mid-teens constant currency growth in revenues from the QuantiFERON latent TB test.

In September 2018, QIAGEN collaborated with DiaSorin to offer a fully-automated CE-Marked testing for latent tuberculosis infection with QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus Blood Collection Tubes (QFT-Plus BCT) on DiaSorin LIAISON platforms.

QIAGEN expects this highly advanced system to be launched in 2019 in the United States and in 2020 across China. Laboratories will now be able to process this fourth-generation modern gold standard QFT-Plus BCT for latent TB test with DiaSorin’s flexible and efficient LIAISON equipment.

According to the companies, the latest LIAISON QuantiFERON-TB Plus Test will help address the increasing conversion of global latent TB testing market into the more modernized blood-based QuantiFERON technology.

Per QIAGEN, QFT-Plus stands as the only IGRA test on the pathway to assessment by the WHO for its global campaign to eliminate TB.

Share Price Performance

QIAGEN has been gaining investor confidence on consistently encouraging results. Over the past six months, the company’s share price has outperformed its industry. The stock has lost 2%, in comparison with the industry’s 14% decline.

Zacks Rank &Key Picks

QIAGEN carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are Veeva Systems (VEEV - Free Report) , Amedisys, Inc. (AMED - Free Report) and Illumina, Inc. (ILMN - Free Report) .

Veeva Systems’ long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 19.5%. The stock flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Amedisys’ long-term earnings growth rate is projected at 18.8%. The stock carries a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy).

Illumina’s long-term earnings growth rate is projected at 23.4%. The stock carries a Zacks Rank of 2.

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