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PacBio's (PACB) New Surveillance Kit Successful Against Omicron

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Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. PACB, popularly known as PacBio, recently announced the success of its new HiFiViral SARS-CoV-2 solution against the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. The solution has effectively sequenced and captured the entire genome of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant’s lineage.

HiFiViral utilizes molecular inversion probes, unlike the current polymerase chain reaction (“PCR”) amplicon-based methods. Thus, the HiFiViral (which is a differentiated viral enrichment approach) provides deep and redundant coverage across the entire SARS-CoV-2 genome for solid detection of all existing variants as well as that of new variants as they emerge.

The HiFiViral kit is available worldwide and is a key step forward in helping labs combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

This latest announcement is expected to significantly expand PacBio’s market share for sequencing, thus strengthening its global foothold.

Significance of the Announcement

The solution’s success in sequencing and capturing the entire genome of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant’s lineage is expected to provide researchers across the world with a powerful tool to access the complete genomic information of Omicron. The solution will likely serve the purpose without gaps in sequencing information that might result from mutations along the SARS-CoV-2 virus' genome.

Per management, public health entities will be able to better answer crucial questions about Omicron and its similarity to other variants only if they have a complete picture of its mutations.

Per an expert who has already used the solution, successful sequencing of Omicron was achieved in the lab. Reliable complete coverage of the entire genome, including the highly mutated gene responsible for the Spike protein, was also achieved.

The simple workflow will likely allow researchers to process, analyze and turn around results in a speedy and efficient way that was not available from PCR-amplicon based methods. Also, the solution requires substantially fewer plastics and other consumables than other technologies, thereby reducing potential supply chain constraints that have persistently bothered surveillance laboratories.

Industry Prospects

Per a report by Facts & Factors published on GlobeNewswire, the global genome sequencing market is expected to reach $12.9 billion by 2026 from $95 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 20%. Factors like the rising prevalence of genetic disorders, continued mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the need for disease management are expected to drive the market.

Given the market potential, the solution’s success is expected to significantly boost PacBio’s global business.

Recent Developments

This month, PacBio partnered with the UCLA Institute for Precision Health and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The research collaboration is aimed at further identifying the causes behind rare diseases.

In November, the company tied up with ARUP Laboratories regarding a study intended to assess whether the solve rate for rare disease cases can be increased.

The same month, PacBio launched the HiFiViral SARS-CoV-2 Kit — a fully kitted end-to-end solution for COVID-19 surveillance — which public health laboratories can use to identify new SARS-CoV-2 variants and detect all variants circulating within a population.

Price Performance

Shares of the company have lost 24.6% in the past year against the industry’s 8.9% rise and S&P 500’s 28.9% growth.

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Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Currently, PacBio carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings LH or LabCorp, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. TMO and AMN Healthcare Services AMN.

LabCorp, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has an estimated long-term growth rate of 10.6%. LH’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 25.73%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

LabCorp has gained 52.4% compared with the industry’s 17.3% rise over the past year.

Thermo Fisher has an estimated long-term growth rate of 14%. TMO’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 9.02%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

Thermo Fisher has gained 41.9% compared with the industry’s 8.9% rise over the past year.

AMN Healthcare has an estimated long-term growth rate of 16.2%. AMN’s earnings surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 19.51%. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1.

AMN Healthcare has gained 77% against the industry’s 59.3% fall over the past year.


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Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LH) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (TMO) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (PACB) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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