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Agilent's Dako Makes Lung Cancer Test Available in Europe

Dako, an Agilent Technologies A subsidiary, recently announced that the new diagnostic assay — PD-L1 IHC 28-8 pharmDx — is now commercially available in Europe. This test helps to assess the survival benefit for non-squamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC).

PD-L1 IHC 28-8 pharmDx can identify PD-L1 expression levels on the surface of NSCLC tumor cells and offers valuable information on the survival benefit for non-squamous NSCLC patients. The diagnostic technique was developed in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb, the maker of OPDIVO. Reportedly, OPDIVO (nivolumab) therapy demonstrates higher overall chances of survival than chemotherapy in such patients.

Currently, the healthcare sector is witnessing significant growth and specialized tests for lung cancer that provide valuable information are gaining popularity.

Agilent acquired Dako for $2.2 billion (on a debt-free basis) in 2012. The Danish cancer diagnostics company provides antibodies, scientific instruments and software mainly to cancer-related diagnostic labs and collaborates with drug companies to develop methods for identifying patients likely to benefit from certain therapies.

The company regularly introduces tests and partners with major pharmaceutical companies likes Eli Lilly and Co. LLY and Pfizer Inc. PFE to develop technologies to cure cancer. The collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb will further help Agilent develop tests in the field of immuno-oncology.

Thus, these collaborations should help the company to cash in on the fast-growing healthcare diagnostics segment.

Agilent's revenues in the recently reported first quarter of fiscal 2016 were up 0.7% year over year, supported by continued strength in the diagnostics, pharma, environmental and forensics markets, and across all geographies. Also, earnings per share of 46 cents beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents and came above management’s guidance.

Currently, Agilent has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A stock that has been performing well is Teradyne Inc. TER carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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