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Cowen Upgrades GenMark Diagnostics to Outperform

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Cowen and Company on Friday upgraded GenMark Diagnostics to Outperform from Market Perform, lifting the company's shares for the second trading day in a row.

Cowen analyst Doug Schenkel said that recent "channel checks" suggest GenMark's ePlex molecular diagnostics system is doing well at early adopter sites in the EU, and that clinical trials for the test are likely to begin soon in the US.

"We've always liked the market opportunity, and after a long history of delays, ePlex finally appears ready to go," Schenkel wrote in a research note.

In July, during an analyst call to discuss Q2 earnings results, the firm's executives said they had installed ePlex systems at US sites where the firm was planning to initiate clinical trials for ePlex during the current quarter. The company added that it expected to submit the ePlex instrument and respiratory pathogen panel for US Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance during the fourth quarter.

In June, the firm garnered CE IVD marking for the instrument and respiratory panel.

The ePlex molecular diagnostics system integrates sample preparation with the firm's eSensor technology to enable the detection of multiple molecular targets on a single test cartridge. The ePlex RP Panel detects 20 viral and three bacterial targets in nasopharyngeal specimens with less than two minutes of hands-on time.

Cowen said that it expects the US clinical studies could move quickly and that ePlex should be launched in the US in advance of the 2017/2018 respiratory season.

In tandem with the upgrade on Friday, Cowen also raised its target price on GenMark shares to $17.00 from $10.00.

GenMark shares surged by around 20 percent during trade on the Nasdaq on Friday and ended the trading day at $10.61. The shares continued their climb in afternoon trading on Monday, rising nearly 2 percent to $10.82.