Saturday, January 29, 2005

Stock of the Week: GenProbe

The Maoxian has a piece on Gen-Probe, one of those IBD stocks that has gone gangbusters since they started covering it. Gen-Probe
has enjoyed two key product approvals. On Dec. 29 its new blood-testing platform, Tigris, won Food and Drug Administration clearance to run tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea, two sexually transmitted diseases. Gen-Probe continues to add new tests and features to the Tigris. In Europe, Gen-Probe is working to launch a new system called Ultrio that combines HIV and hepatitis B and C tests on one platform. It's seeking FDA approval of the system in the U.S. as well. The hepatitis B test could help the firm expand in Asia, where the disease is more common than in the U.S. and Europe. Nordhoff say Gen-Probe's hepatitis B test cuts the time between infection and detection by 42% compared with rival tests. Already Gen-Probe has strong relationships in Japan. It was spun off from Tokyo-based Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. in September 2002. The spin-off came as Chugai merged with Roche unit Nippon Roche, becoming Japan's fifth biggest drug maker. In the U.S., Gen-Probe is eyeing the cancer market. It inked a licensing deal in November for rights to a gene market for prostate cancer called PCA3 from Canada's Diagnocure. The two firms plan to develop a urine test that will detect PCA3. Gen-Probe would market the test. He claims the test could be far more accurate than existing tests, which can predict prostate cancer with 25% accuracy.
Right now, the stock is stuck in what Trader Mike calls no man's land, chilling between its 50 and 200 Moving Day Averages after a recent selloff.

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