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Raymond James Upgrades Quidel

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Raymond James Equity Research today upgraded Quidel to Outperform and established a price target of $22, noting expected new products throughout the year that should expand the company's revenue base.

In a research note analyst Nicholas Jansen upgraded the San Diego-based firm's rating from Market Perform and said that 2013 "will serve as an inflection point for Quidel as the company begins to accrue the benefits from its spate of new product introductions that should ultimately help diversify the revenue base of the company, which today, is still heavily dependent on influenza."

He said that in 2013 Quidel is anticipated to launch 10 new products. During the past three years, it has invested heavily in R&D to broaden its revenue base beyond influenza, which makes up between 20 and 30 percent of total revenues. This year, he said, the fruits of the diversification effort should be realized.

In addition to the launch of the Sophia immunoassay system in 2012, Jansen noted the recent approval from the US Food and Drug Administration of Quidel's C. difficile test on its AmpliVue handheld molecular system, which provides the firm entry into the hospital-acquired infection space. He added that other open-box assays could receive approval this year, "boding well for 2014 growth."

The flu season is also shaping up to be a growth driver in the near term, and during the past five weeks flu activity has spiked. Quidel also faces an easy year-ago comparison when the flu season was weak.

"While the stock has already started to react to the news, we believe there is more upside should the season remain strong in 1Q13," Jansen said.

Quidel shares were up 5 percent at $19.55 on the Nasdaq in Wednesday morning trade.