QIAGEN (QGEN) to Enhance Forensics With New Partnership

QIAGEN N.V. QGEN recently entered into a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The deal advances a novel test for its QIAcuity digital PCR devices that will enhance forensics by improving the quantification of DNA in human samples.

The recent development will strengthen QIAGEN’s leading position in the human identification (HID) and forensics business.

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As a federally accredited laboratory, the FBI performs research and development. This CRADA will assist the FBI LD, a branch of the Scientific and Technology Branch whose objective is to gather, evaluate, and disseminate timely scientific and technical information.

CRADAs enable the exchange of resources and expertise to promote the FBI's mission through collaborative research. The FBI researches to create new skills that will advance forensic science. This revolutionary digital PCR technique could be helpful for the FBI and other forensic laboratories. The collaboration will aid in determining the viability of this skill in forensic casework.

DNA found in forensic samples is frequently found in highly minute levels, which can be further weakened by aging or environmental elements like dirt. With dPCR, forensic experts may accurately detect and measure even trace amounts of DNA while also benefiting from greater resistance to inhibitors than with regular quantitative PCR. This capability saves time and money while greatly increasing the success rate of forensic analysis.

Strategic Efforts

QIAGEN is pleased to be developing one of the first forensic tests capable of quantifying mitochondrial DNA in collaboration with the FBI Laboratory Division. The forensic community and the scientists of the FBI will be able to examine a wider variety of evidence more rapidly, precisely, and dependably with improved DNA quantification — even from difficult samples. This development in forensic science demonstrates the value of dPCR in boosting the dependability and effectiveness of forensic evidence in proving the guilty innocent and convicting the guilty.

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The partnership intends to create a first-of-its-kind digital PCR (dPCR) technology that can measure male DNA, nuclear and mitochondrial DNA contents simultaneously in absolute terms and incorporate quality markers for inhibition and degradation.

Industry Prospects

Per a report by Grand View Research, the global forensic genomics market size was valued at $413.32 million in 2021 and is projected to attain a CAGR of 14.25%. The industry growth can be attributed to rapid technological advancements, increased private & government funding for the development of cost-effective forensic testing techniques and an increasing number of crimes, such as homicides, kidnapping and sexual assault.

Recent Developments

Leveraging its position as one of the top 3 providers of human identification solutions, including sample preparation and PCR kits, the company has now expanded into NGS-based applications.  The addition of NGS leaders like Verogen has enhanced QIAGEN’s leadership in the fast-growing field of Human ID /forensics based on sample collection and preparation, genetic testing analysis and workflow automation.

In April 2024, QIAGEN launched the Investigator Quantiplex Pro FLX Kit, which offers forensic laboratories the highest sensitivity when processing casework samples. This enables researchers to reliably quantify DNA in the sample, allowing for informed downstream decisions in their workflow. The Investigator Quantiplex Pro FLX Kit advances the way forensic laboratories process casework samples by significantly improving decision-making and enabling labs to focus on samples that contain enough DNA to be worth processing.

Price Performance

In the past six months, QGEN’s shares have inched up 7% compared with the industry’s rise of 5.1%.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

QIAGEN currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are Medpace MEDP, ResMed RMD and Encompass Health Corporation EHC.

Medpace, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), reported a first-quarter 2024 EPS of $3.20, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 30.6%. Revenues of $511 million improved 17.7% from last year’s comparable figure. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Medpace has an estimated 2024 earnings growth rate of 26.5% compared with the industry’s 12.3%. The company’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average being 12.8%.

ResMed, sporting a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), reported a first-quarter 2024 EPS of $2.13, topping the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 10.9%. Revenues of $1.20 billion surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.9%.

RMD has an estimated fiscal 2024 earnings growth rate of 17.9% compared with the industry’s 15.7%. In each of the trailing four quarters, the company delivered an average earnings surprise of 2.8%.

Encompass Health, carrying a Zacks Rank #2, reported a first-quarter 2024 adjusted EPS of $1.12, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 20.4%. Net operating revenues of $1.3 billion topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.6%.

EHC has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 15.6% compared with the industry’s 11.7% growth. The company’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 18.7%.

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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 Nasdaq, Inc.

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