In the battle against COVID-19, another test just got an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
On Friday, October 2, Quidel (QDEL) announced that its Sofia 2 Flu + SARS Antigen FIA test, or the ABC test (flu A and B, and COVID-19) had been granted EUA.
Writing for Raymond James, analyst Andrew Cooper isn’t surprised by the timing, as the company has been confident about having the product ready to go in time for the respiratory season. It should be noted that distributors would have been expected to start building up stock around this point in the year in preparation for the flu season.
As for the test’s performance, it was “largely within the realm of expectations for each pathogen as well, with COVID-19 positive percent agreement of 95% and negative percent agreement of 100% but flu A and flu B sensitivity/specificity of 90%/95% and 89%/96% respectively.”
Speaking to the product’s potential, Cooper commented, “We view the product as most importantly serving as a tool to enable the company to meet demands of testing during the flu season. In a period where many physicians may opt to test for both COVID-19 and flu given symptom similarities, this enables capacity flexibility, as these scenarios will now necessitate just one actual cartridge vs. Two.”
That being said, Cooper points out that the company remains committed to doing whatever is necessary to serve customers requiring other tests during the respiratory season, whether it be respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or Strep A tests. “Mix will prove an important factor in results, with the ABC test likely priced in the low to mid $30 range to the end user, or high $20 range to Quidel,” Cooper added.
Based on the most recent commentary from management, the company plans to reach 2.1 million tests per week in late Q3 and up to 2.8 million per week by the end of Q4. “Management has referenced 70% as a reasonable portion of capacity towards these higher priced COVID-19 solutions, and we think this, combined with the ramping capacity overall, is what gives the team confidence in the $800 million-plus revenue expectation it gave for Q4 late last week,” Cooper mentioned.
While the EUA is welcomed news and a de-risking event, it was somewhat expected, and thus, Cooper stays on the sidelines for now. He reiterates a Market Perform (i.e. Hold) rating, and doesn’t assign a specific price target. (To watch Cooper’s track record, click here)
Other analysts might have to disagree with Cooper. The Street considers QDEL stock a Strong Buy based on 3 Buy ratings and 1 Hold. The consensus price target stands at $365.50, showing a 31.5% upside from the current cost of a share. (See Quidel stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.