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Bio-Rad Coronavirus Blood Test 'Could be Big,' Jefferies Says

Bio-Rad Laboratories' new blood test to detect covid-19 antibodies "could be big," a Jefferies analyst says.

Bio-Rad Laboratories'  (BIO) - Get Report new blood test to detect covid-19 antibodies "could be big," a Jefferies analyst said, affirming a buy rating and a $450 price target on the medical-products company.

Shares were up 3.3% to $382.59 at last check.

Jefferies analyst Brandon Couillard said in a note to clients that "the market shrugged off" Bio-Rad's announcement of the launch of its immunoassay kit. 

But he is upbeat about the commercial prospects for such a test, which can help identify people who are no longer susceptible to infection and can return to work. 

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Not only could Bio-Rad offer one of the first-to-market tests, Couillard said, initial performance data "suggest it could be the best." The analyst thinks this could be valued at more than $100 million of revenue.

The Hercules, Calif., company unveiled the new test on Tuesday.

The kit is undergoing clinical evaluation in several hospitals to further confirm clinical performance, Bio-Rad said. Initial data collected on more than 700 samples has shown specificity above 99%.

After someone is infected with the coronavirus, the company said, viral antigens stimulate the body’s immune system to produce antibodies to fight the virus. 

Bio-Rad said its blood-based immunoassay kit will help clinicians determine whether an individual has been infected by the virus and therefore has developed an immune response against it.

Bio-Rad said it planned to offer the kit globally. In the U.S. the company intends to use the FDA’s emergency-use-authorization process to speed its availability.

"The detection of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 on a large scale may be used to guide public authorities in their decisions to lift partial or total containment orders according to the serological status of the population," said Dara Wright, who is an executive vice president at Bio-Rad and president of the clinical-diagnostics group, in a statement.

At last check Bio-Rad shares were up 2.6% at $380.10.