) subsidiary, entered into an agreement with
Merck & Co. Inc.
) to develop companion diagnostic test for detecting cancer
susceptibility among people. Financial terms of the deal have not
The companion diagnostic test is being developed for the
analysis of the potential tumor biomarker PD-L1. The test is part
of Merck's clinical development program to study anti-PD-1 antibody
to treat cancer.
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 more
Dako's expertise in developing 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
Agilent's fiscal second-quarter earnings per share of 72 cents
were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Revenues of $1.73
billion were up 3.1% sequentially but down 0.1% year over year.
Life Sciences and Diagnostics Group revenues were up 1.1%
sequentially, driven by strong performance in the pharma and
Currently, Agilent Technologies has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Other stocks that are performing well at current levels include
Applied Micro Circuits
). All these stocks sport a Zacks Ranks #1 (Strong Buy).
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