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Quidel Preliminary Q4 Revenues Down on Weak Flu Season

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Quidel today reported preliminary revenues for the fourth quarter of 2015 well below analyst forecasts.

Due to a weak influenza season, the firm now expects Q4 revenues between $52 million and $53 million, below analysts' consensus estimate of $64 million.

Investors reacted negatively to the news, sending Quidel's shares down around 7 percent to $17.67 in mid-morning trade on the Nasdaq. The shares had fallen to as low as $16.71 earlier in the session.

Following the preliminary results, investment firm William Blair lowered it's rating on Quidel's stock to Market Perform, noting, "until we begin to see traction with non-influenza products or the company completes a large acquisition that we believe makes financial and strategic sense, we believe it is difficult to recommend that investors purchase the stock."

Canaccord Genuity analyst Mark Massaro maintained a Buy rating on the stock but cut his price target to $22 from $25, and Wells Fargo analyst Tim Evans cut the valuation range on Quidel's stock to $18 to $20 from a previous range of $21 to $23. Evans noted that Thermo Fisher Scientific and Cepheid "also have exposure to flu trends, but are far more diversified than [Quidel] and have multiple other factors driving stock price performance."

Raymond James, meanwhile, downgraded Quidel in December due to the mild flu season. 

Quidel also reported good placement of its Sofia immunoassay platform, which supports the core of its flu business along with a molecular offering on its Lyra platform.

"Despite the apparent delay in the onset of a potential influenza epidemic, Sofia placements were strong in the quarter, and share gains were consistent with those that we had demonstrated earlier in the year," Douglas Bryant, Quidel's president and CEO, said in a statement. 

"As we exited the year, total Sofia placements on contract for one or more assays were nearly 14,000, the result of an acceleration in placements in 2015, which were about 20 percent higher than they were in the prior year," Bryant added.