Agilent Technologies Inc.
) has won the patent for comparative genomic hybridization (CGH)
methods in the U.S.
CGH methods facilitate the basic and clinical study of genetics
and cancer. Being a method of studying genes, it can also
help to detect other diseases like developmental delays, mental
retardation and autism in children.
The study of genes has gained popularity in medical research
because many so-called incurable diseases appear to have their
roots in unfavorable genetics. The most important aspect of genome
testing is that it can detect disease in its early stages, thus
facilitating better diagnosis.
The genetic testing market is, therefore, entering an exciting
era where it can play a vital role in detecting diseases like
cancer, cystic fibrosis and Alzheimer's and many other
Agilent has been increasing its focus in the medial diagnostics
segment because of the significant growth potential in the area.
The company recently acquired a Danish cancer diagnostics company,
Dako, for $2.2 billion. Dako deals in antibodies, scientific
instruments and software used mainly in cancer-related diagnostic
labs. It also collaborates with drug companies for the development
of methods to identify patients likely to benefit from certain
In the health care sector, major players such as
Genomic Health Inc.
Life Technologies Corporation
) and others have all increased focus on the genetic testing
Agilent's revenue in the third quarter was flat sequentially and
up 1.9% year over year, short of management's expectations for a
2-3% sequential increase ($1.77 billion to $1.79 billion). The
Chemical Analysis segment generated 22.0% of third quarter revenue,
down 8.8% sequentially and 7.0% year over year. The sequential
decline was largely because of weakness in food testing, although
chemical/energy was also down significantly and the
forensics/environmental was flat. All three markets fared similarly
when compared with the year-ago quarter. The newly- added
Diagnostics and Genomics segment accounted for 6% of revenue in
Currently, Agilent Technologies Inc. has a Zacks Rank of #3,
implying a short-term 'Hold' recommendation.
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