QIAGEN N.V. (QGEN - Free Report) entered an agreement with Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LH - Free Report) or LabCorp to extend their existing QIAGEN Clinical Insights (QCI) license.
Per the terms of the agreement, the QCI license will be extended for LabCorp with QIAGEN’s Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD) of human genetic variants (the world’s largest database of inherited disease mutations). With the recent announcement, the entities deepened the seven-year agreement to develop, introduce and support new diagnostic tests.
The extended partnership will aid QIAGEN to strengthen foothold in the global next generation sequencing (NGS) market.
Few Words on NGS
NGS has become instrumental in identifying genetic variants which play a role in inherited diseases. It provides a flexible technology platform which makes it possible to use highly targeted (rather than large-scale) test panels for clinical diagnostics, and in studies of new therapies and diagnostics.
A Peek Into HGMD
More than 20 million people in the United States are currently affected by hereditary diseases. Major technological advances have already been made to enable the cost-effective generation of large datasets, encompassing all coding regions (including entire human genomes).
However, linking a patient’s genetic variants to the increasing body of knowledge of human disease genetics is becoming challenging. This limits genetic testing's ability to provide actionable information to guide diagnosis and take better treatment decisions. This makes it difficult for patients and their families to deal with the situation, highlighting the importance of the availability of genetic variation information.
HGMD is a component of QCI, which is a key source of information on heritable mutations. With the increasing cases of mutations, HGMD will provide the required information to convert variant data to actionable insights for researchers, physicians and patients.
Rationale Behind the Extended Partnership
Per the agreement, HGMD will provide access to validated evidence to support more precise and comprehensive variant interpretation of hereditary diseases. This, in turn, will help laboratories as well as patients receive answers to queries related to hereditary diseases and appropriate treatment options.
The extension of the existing partnership with LabCorp will authenticate QIAGEN’s bioinformatics solutions in the interpretation of germline diseases, thus enabling patients and their families to make more informed decisions for any germline or somatic indication for all clinical testing labs.
QIAGEN announced the expansion of its QIAseq NGS portfolio in November for offering a one-day workflow for simultaneous preparation of DNA and RNA libraries, using NGS technologies. In October, the company launched technologies for faster, simpler library preparation for NGS in RNA research.
Further, QIAGEN launched its upgraded GeneGlobe Design & Analysis Hub in September to provide next-level experiment planning, execution and follow-up to life science researchers.
The company launched QIAseq Expanded Carrier Screening Panel (a Sample to Insight solution) for research into genetic causes of rare and inherited diseases in June. In May, QIAGEN launched QIAstat-Dx syndromic testing system in the United States, after receiving FDA clearance. It also launched multiplex QIAstat-Dx Respiratory Panel in the same period.
Per a report by Grand View Research, the global NGS market size was valued at $8.49 billion in 2018 and is likely to see a CAGR of 12.78% between 2019 and 2025. Key factors driving the market are the introduction of advanced and rapid sequencing technologies for clinical processes, and innovations made in the bioinformatics segment.
Given the huge potential of the NGS market, the extension of the agreement has come at the right time.
The company’s shares have gained 19.5% in the past year against the industry’s decline of 3.7%.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Currently, QIAGEN carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are Haemonetics Corporation (HAE - Free Report) and NuVasive, Inc (NUVA - Free Report) .
Haemonetics, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has a projected long-term earnings growth rate of 13.5%.
NuVasive’s long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 10.9%. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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