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QIAGEN N.V. QGEN announced that International Panel Physicians Association (“IPPA”) has endorsed QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus) for immigrants’ medical screening. Per management, innumerable U.S. migrants suffer from latent and active tuberculosis (TB) every year. Consequently, the prudent usage of QIAGEN’s QFT-Plus will aid in curbing these challenges to public health in the coming quarters.
Why Did IPPA Endorse QFT-Plus?
Notably, IPPA is a not-for-profit physician education group working with countries receiving immigrants and refugees.
Per the press release, IPPA called the modern class of TB tests known as interferon gamma release assays (IGRAs) “essential to the safety and efficacy of screening programs designed for early detection of TB infection.”
Post the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) Division of Global Migration and Quarantine’s announcement of expanded TB testing requirements, the IPPA endorses the use of QFT-Plus for immigration medical screening. The CDC announcement of expanded TB testing requirements will be effective from Oct 1, 2018.
Prior the announcement, guidelines for TB testing were limited to children (aged 2 to 14). Previously, the immigrants had the option to use either the TST or IGRA. However, the new guidelines require IGRA testing for immigrants (in all adults and children) applying for legal status in the United States. The TST method will no longer be accepted for immigration screening.
Panel physicians (practicing abroad and appointed by receiving country governments to take care of the mandatory pre-departure medical examinations of migrants) will now be required to use IGRAs for TB screening. Notably, there are more than one-half million migrants per year receiving permanent lawful residence in the United States.
QFT Unit at a Glance
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. We believe this approval will help QIAGEN expand its customer base and drive the uptake of QFT-Plus test, consequently boosting the top line.
QFT-Plus is registered in more than 75 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. QFT-Plus is also endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of two IGRAs for its campaign to eradicate TB.
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 49% to total revenues in the last reported quarter on substantial growth in QuantiFERON latent TB tests, QIAsymphony automation system consumables portfolio and solid performance of companion diagnostic pharma collaborations.
Developments in QFT
In this regard, post the receipt of FDA approval in June 2017, QIAGEN had announced the complete launch of the fourth-generation blood test for TB infection — QFT-Plus — in the United States.
Furthermore, continuing with the slew of developments, QIAGEN announced the signing of a collaboration agreement with DiaSorin in January 2017. Post collaboration, QIAGEN’s QuantiFERON-TB diagnostic test will be available under DiaSorin’s LIAISON portfolio of fully automated analyzers.
QIAGEN recently announced the receipt of Japan’s Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare approval for QFT-Plus as an in vitro diagnostic to detect TB infection.
According to 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.
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 the industry. The stock has gained 4.5%, in contrast to the industry’s 8.2% decline.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
QIAGEN carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical sector are Bio-Rad Laboratories BIO, athenahealth, Inc. ATHN and PerkinElmer PKI.
Bio-Rad Laboratories sports a Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The company has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 20%.
athenahealth is a Zacks #1 Ranked player. The company has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 21.5%.
PerkinElmer has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 12.3%. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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