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Quidel Releases Preliminary Q3 Results, Partners with Biodesix for Big Ten Surveillance

NEW YORK – Diagnostics maker Quidel released preliminary financial results for the third quarter on Thursday. The firm announced that it expects revenues for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2020, to be in the range of $475 million to $477 million, well above the average Wall Street estimate of $394.3 million.

Douglas Bryant, Quidel's president and CEO, commented in a statement that the firm expects "even greater success" in augmenting its supply chains and production for the firm's COVID-19 diagnostic products, "resulting in $800 million or more in revenue in our final quarter of 2020."

The company expects to issue full financial results for the third quarter in late October. Its shares were up around 5 percent at $229.86 in morning trade on the Nasdaq.

In the most recent quarter of 2020, Quidel had posted total sales of $201.8 million and projected third quarter revenue of at least $375 million based on current demand for its Emergency Use Authorized Sofia 2 SARS rapid antigen test and Lyra SARS-CoV-2 PCR assays. In the prior-year third quarter, Quidel had reported revenues of $126.5 million.

In a separate announcement, the Big Ten athletic conference said that Quidel and specialty testing lab Biodesix have partnered to support SARS-CoV-2 surveillance of student athletes and staff in the conference. Specifically, all Big Ten conference student athletes and staff involved in close contact sports competition will be administered Quidel's rapid antigen test prior to every practice and game, according to a statement issued by the Big Ten.

Under the deal, Biodesix will oversee and manage onsite testing at Big Ten campuses using Quidel's Sofia 2 SARS rapid antigen test. Biodesix and its designated contractor, Maxim Healthcare Staffing Services, will assume all day-to-day sample collection and surveillance testing responsibilities. Biodesix will also validate the antigen test results using its protocols, which involve Bio-Rad Droplet Digital PCR. People with presumptive positive results will be referred to health staff at their respective institutions for confirmatory PCR testing.

The testing will begin on Sept. 30, with Biodesix administrators on site at each of the 14 Big Ten campuses, coinciding with the first shipment of the rapid antigen testing kits from Quidel.

"Quidel's rapid antigen testing technology represents the ability to perform COVID-19 surveillance testing on a large scale with prompt results," said Jim Borchers, head team physician at The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Big Ten conference Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee. "Along with its medical and scientific capabilities as a certified laboratory, Biodesix is committed to helping the Big Ten meet the testing requirements and reporting protocols established by the medical subcommittee and adopted by the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors."

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren noted that there is a research component of the partnership that "will provide major contributions to all 14 Big Ten institutions as they study COVID-19 and attempt to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 ... among wider communities."

Quidel's Bryant also commented that in addition to supporting the return to play for student-athletes, the research component is key to understanding the virus and improving the testing algorithm. 

"We are pleased to be partnering with the Big Ten to provide daily testing for its student-athletes, while also expanding the largest research initiative into asymptomatic individuals," Bryant said.