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Qiagen to Simplify Next-Generation Sequencing

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Qiagen NV (QGEN) recently divulged its plans to launch innovative products that will minimize the two major roadblocks in the next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform viz. sample preparation and bioinformatics.

Qiagen revealed certain details about these products that will allow next-generation sequencing users to deal with difficult samples tactfully and gain more coherent data in return. The products will complement Qiagen’s current portfolio of universal solutions, which are compatible for use with any next-generation sequencing system.

Several of QGEN’s products are designed to help next-generation sequencing users tackle difficult-to-use samples. The GeneRead DNA FFPE Kit will simplify the procedure of purifying DNA from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections and eliminating formalin and cytosine deamination.

The REPLI-gWTA Single Cell Kit and REPLI-gCell WGA & WTA Kit will allow transcriptomic next-generation sequencing analysis from single cells and comparative genomic and transcriptomic analysis from the same small sample. Both these products have already been launched commercially.

Exosome sample-prepration kits will be launched in the second quarter of 2014. These will enable processing nucleic acids from exosomes to examine gene mutations in blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid without a surgical tissue biopsy. Qiagen had entered into a strategic partnership with Exosome Diagnostics Inc. on Jul 23, 2013, in order to develop this product.

Qiagen will also launch GeneRead DNAseq panel V2.0 in order to enhance identification process of variants. The product will provide an easy-to-use, highly sensitive and specific PCR-based target enrichment approach. It will cater to specific needs of researchers by enabling them to customize their panels. The product will be commercially available in the second quarter of 2014.

In a bid to strengthen its suite of bioinformatics solutions, Qiagen acquired Ingenuity Systems, Inc. and CLC Bio in 2013. It has also announced the launch of Ingenuity Variant Analysis, Ingenuity Clinical and CLC Cancer Research Workbench. These products will accelerate analysis and interpretation of next-generation sequencing data and enhance research process.

We are encouraged with Qiagen’s efforts to expand its universal portfolio. We prefer to remain on the sidelines for the time being and wait until more visibility is obtained about the performance of these new products.

Currently, Qiagen has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader healthcare sector are Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF), Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN) and Coronado Biosciences, Inc. (CNDO). All these companies sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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