Qiagen's molecular diagnostics buys boost Q1 sales

Qiagen ($QGEN) finished its fiscal 2012 first quarter with double-digit growth in both sales and net income, driven by acquisitions and a booming demand for diagnostic test kits.

The company's net income jumped 11% to $54.8 million during the quarter, and sales climbed 12% to $296.4 million. As Reuters points out, both numbers surpassed analysts' estimates. What's more, Qiagen predicts earnings per share will climb from 98 cents last year to between $1.03 and $1.05 this year.

Much of that bump came through its significant investment in molecular diagnostics M&A last year, the Dutch company said. Qiagen bought a majority stake in France's Ipsogen, for example, gaining access to 15 biomarkers used to diagnose, determine the prognosis for and monitor patients with various blood cancers. Separately, the company spent $355 million to snatch up Australia's Cellestis. That company has developed molecular diagnostic tests to detect tuberculosis and the cytomegalovirus, which can cause serious disease in people with weakened immune systems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both acquisitions have helped Qiagen boost the number of tests it can offer on its automated diagnostics machines, Reuters explains. Qiagen has increasingly focused on molecular diagnostics tests and created a separate division to reflect its growth in the space. The company is also partnering more with drug companies during early development to help meet the growing demand for companion diagnostics.

During the quarter, the company noted it gained FDA clearance for its Rotor-Gene Q MDx real-time PCR thermocycler for use with its in vitro diagnostic test to detect influenza. It is designed for use with its QIAsymphony automated purification and molecular testing machine. The company said it is on track to place more than 750 of those machines by the end of the year. Qiagen expects to sell 200 systems by the end of this year, adding to the 550 already in place globally.

Molecular diagnostics now generates 47% of net sales, with related products for the academic market (consumables--26% of net sales), pharma (instruments--20% of net sales) and applied testing (7% of net sales).

- see Qiagen's release
- read Reuters' take