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Cepheid rises after FDA clears bacterial STD test

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of molecular diagnostics company Cepheid rose Friday after the company said it received marketing approval for a test for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

THE SPARK: Cepheid said the Food and Drug Administration approved a test for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The test, called the Xpert CT/NG test, is designed to make same-day consultation and treatment possible, and Cepheid said it will start shipping the test in January.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Sunnyvale, Calif., company said the test, which will run on its GeneXpert test system, will detect the two most common sexually-transmitted bacterial infections in the U.S. Cepheid said there are approximately 700,000 gonorrhea infections every year in the U.S., and testing can be difficult. Cepheid said additional confirming tests are sometimes required, leading to delays in communication, consultation and treatment.

The GeneXpert testing system can diagnose illnesses including tuberculosis, influenza, drug-resistant MRSA infections, C. difficile, and enteroviral meningitis.

SHARE ACTION: Cepheid stock picked up $1.30, or 4 percent, to $34 in midday trading. The shares reached an annual low of $28.12 on Nov. 15 and have risen 16 percent since then.