This article previously reported that Cepheid's technology is being used by government health and law-enforcement officials in New York, Nevada, and Florida to investigate reports of anthrax. While Cepheid acknowledges that its DNA-analysis instruments are being used by these agencies, the company cannot comment whether the products are being used in any specific anthrax case in those states.
NEW YORK, Oct. 15 – Shares in Cepheid continued to climb on Monday after new cases of anthrax were reported in other parts of the United States over the weekend.
In early-afternoon trade on the Nasdaq exchange, shares in Cepheid, which develops and manufactures tests that can detect toxins, including anthrax, were up nearly 14 percent to $8.84.
The morning’s trend follows a surge of almost 50 percent recorded on Friday after reports surfaced that an employee of NBC News in New York was diagnosed with the cutaneous form of the disease. Cutaneous anthrax is known to be significantly less lethal than if the bacteria are inhaled.
Since then, it has been confirmed that anthrax spores have been detected in a total of three states in the continental US—Nevada, New York, and Florida—in which 13 individuals have reportedly been exposed. Of these, as many as three have been infected with the disease, one of whom fatally.
Kurt Petersen, Cepheid’s president and COO, said that the company has been “ramping up production almost every month since the technology was launched.”
“We are in a very high growth mode in terms of our shipments, and there has been a lot of increase in activity since the [Sept. 11] attack,” he said in an interview with GenomeWeb .
Cepheid, which said it has worked with the Department of Defense since the company was founded in 1996, “has a lot of systems that are in use” by the national and local health and law enforcement agencies responsible for identifying and containing anthrax, Petersen said. “We have definitely got some increased orders in the last few weeks.”
He would not disclose the rate at which orders have increased, saying instead that those data will be released when Cepheid reports its quarterly financial statement in two weeks.
The “simplest” I-Core module used by the DoD, the FBI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Department of Agriculture to detect anthrax costs approximately $27,500, according to Petersen.
Cepheid also said is has portable, battery-operated units that are more expensive than the freestanding modules.