November 9, 2009 / 9:11 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Qiagen beats estimates, tweaks outlook on test sales

* Sees FY adj EPS of $0.88-$0.90 vs $0.86-$0.90 previously

* Q3 adj net income $53.5 mln vs Rtrs poll avg of $49 mln

* Higher demand for tests for HPV, tumour mutations (Adds details, background)

FRANKFURT, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Germany’s Qiagen QGEN.DE QGEN.O tweaked its full-year earnings outlook and posted better-than-expected quarterly results as more doctors used its testing kits for the cervical cancer virus.

The genetic-tests specialist said on Monday that 2009 adjusted diluted earnings per share would be between $0.88 and $0.90, lifting the lower limit from $0.86 previously, adding that the target was based on Jan. 31 foreign exchange rates.

Healthcare reform in the United States, the group’s biggest market, looked set to further boost demand for tests to identify the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, Chief Executive Peer Schatz said.

“This would give us a bigger market potential. HPV tests are part of the standard healthcare coverage in the U.S.,” the CEO told Reuters on Monday.

Qiagen — listed in the Netherlands but with its main operations in Germany — derives more than a quarter of total sales from genetic HPV tests.

Third-quarter net profit, excluding one-off items related to acquisitions, rose 26 percent to $53.5 million, better than the $49 million average estimate in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts.

Sales rose 15 percent excluding the effect of currency swings and acquisitions, also topping market estimates.

Qiagen also benefited from higher demand for tests that help identify those bowel-cancer patients who are most likely to benefit from Merck KGaA’s (MRCG.DE) anti-tumor drug Erbitux or from Amgen’s (AMGN.O) Vectibix.

In the United States, Qiagen is the exclusive supplier of tests needed before Vectibix and Erbitux can be used while in Europe it has an 80 percent market share, the CEO said.

Personalised medicine, or screening patients’ genetic profile to find the best therapy, accounts for about 5 percent of group sales, Schatz said.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have five to six tests in the regulatory approval process in the U.S. with an annual peak sales potential of $50-$100 million each,” he added.

Qiagen in September shored up its cancer diagnostics business by acquiring British peer DxS Ltd for up to $130 million.

Schatz on Monday repeated that more deals were in the offing, adding that such takeovers would complement Qiagen’s main businesses and would not be transformational.

Qiagen’s shares trade at 24 times estimated earnings over the next 12 months, above the multiple of 19 for the global life sciences tools and services industry, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, which weights estimates according to analysts’ track record. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger)

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