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Fulgent Genetics Shares Rise on News of NYC Schools Coronavirus Testing Contract

NEW YORK – Shares of Fulgent Genetics were up nearly 16 percent in Thursday morning trading, following an announcement that the firm had landed a contract to perform coronavirus testing for New York City's schools.

On Wednesday afternoon, Fulgent, based in Temple City, California, announced it has partnered with New York City Health and Hospitals, a public benefit corporation that operates the city's municipal healthcare system, to provide back-to-school COVID-19 testing.

Under the terms of the agreement, NYCHH Test and Trace Corps will use Picture by Fulgent at-home test kits. Financial and other details were not disclosed. As reported by The New York Times, the contract could be worth as much as $10 million per month.

"Fulgent's Picture Genetics at-home test was chosen due to its convenient self-administration, which can be used on-site at schools as well as at home.  The company’s industry-leading turnaround time of 24-48 hours also makes this a powerful tool for back-to-school testing," the firms said in a statement. The Picture kit has received Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.

In a separate announcement, Fulgent said that all patients tested for COVID-19 will also receive results for Influenzas A and B, effective Sept. 28, 2020.

"With flu season fast approaching, we believe it will be critical to differentiate between Influenza and SARS-CoV-2, and that this combination of virus testing will become the standard of care during the remainder of the pandemic," Brandon Perthuis, Fulgent's chief commercial officer, said in a statement. "Adding Influenza A and B testing to our COVID-19 testing solution further solidifies Fulgent Genetics as the go-to laboratory for testing during this pandemic, as it has become increasing clear that RT-PCR is the gold standard for COVID-19 testing."

On Tuesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city's schools would be delayed in opening by 10 days, to Sept. 21. Fulgent said it has already shipped hundreds of thousands of test kits to New York.

Fulgent has invested heavily in several platforms for offering PCR-based SARS-CoV-2 tests, including drive-through testing, at-home testing, and enterprise testing for companies and schools. The firm has been supporting drive-through testing in several major California counties.

In a research note, Piper Sandler analyst Steven Mah said Fulgent is "actively pressing in Florida," where the state government recently dropped Quest Diagnostics as a COVID-19 testing partner after its failure to report roughly 75,000 results in a timely manner.

Fulgent's shares were trading at $33.43 on the Nasdaq shortly after the opening bell on Thursday.

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