Agilent Unit & Merck Collaborate - Analyst Blog


Dako, an Agilent Technologies ( A ) subsidiary, entered into an agreement with Merck & Co. Inc. ( MRK ) to develop technologies in the field of companion diagnostics for cancer-fighting drugs. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Agilent acquired the Danish cancer diagnostics company, Dako, for $2.2 billion (on a debt-free basis) in 2012. Dako supplies antibodies, scientific instruments and software mainly to cancer-related diagnostic labs. It also collaborates with drug companies for developing methods to identify patients who are likely to benefit from certain therapies.

Currently, the healthcare sector is witnessing a revolution and companion diagnostics or personalized medicine is taking the center stage. It has been found that not all treatments are suitable for patients suffering from a specific disease as some require tests that are more specialized in nature.

Dako's expertise in the development of methods to identify patients likely to benefit from certain therapies will help Merck select patients who may benefit from its ongoing research in companion diagnostics; thus improving the diagnostic process.

There could be far-reaching effects on the entire healthcare system, as personalized medicine has a long way to go in improving patient care and reducing medical bills.

According to the Global Industry Analysts, the global market for companion diagnostics may reach $280.2 million by 2017, driven by the enhancement of a drug's clinical usage, thus reducing the overall cost and risk involved in drug development and commercialization.

Agilent's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings per share of 81 cents beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5 cents, or 6.1%, driven by good expense control and stronger mix. However, revenues of $1.72 billion missed our expectations due to unfavorable currency changes.

Currently, Agilent Technologies has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other companies, such as Ametek Inc. ( AME ) and Daktronics Inc. ( DAKT ), with a Zacks Ranks #2 (Buy), are also worth considering.

AGILENT TECH (A): Free Stock Analysis Report

AMETEK INC (AME): Free Stock Analysis Report

DAKTRONICS INC (DAKT): Free Stock Analysis Report

MERCK & CO INC (MRK): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: A , AME , DAKT , MRK

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