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Meridian (VIVO) Initiates illumigene CMV Trial, Shares Shine


In an initiative to boost its illumigene platform, Cincinnati, OH-based Meridian Bioscience, Inc. VIVO recently initiated clinical trials for illumigene CMV molecular amplification test, a simple saliva-based test to detect the congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in newborns. The infection results in developmental disabilities and even death.

Shares of Merdian jumped 1.1% to close at $13.61 following the news release. We believe the latest development will further buoy the company’s stock performance in the near term.

Following encouraging outcome from the clinical trials, Meridian is expected to submit the test for FDA review. Notably, there is no FDA-approved clinical trial for CMV screening in newborns to date.

The latest development is a significant move in the company’s Diagnostics segment. We note that illumigene is a flagship platform within the segment that includes Isothermal DNA Amplification. It is a molecular platform that is suitable for laboratories of any size, both centralized and decentralized. illumigene comprises commercialized tests like illumigene C. difficile, illumigene Group B Streptococcus, illumigene Group A Streptococcus, illumigene Mycoplasma and more.

Apart from enhancing the illumigene platform, the company announced the expansion of its ImmunoCard STAT! profile recently. The addition of ImmunoCard STAT! FLU A&B products in the platform deserves a mention in this regard.

Meridian’s reaffirmed fiscal 2017 guidance is a key highlight at the moment. The company expects adjusted diluted earnings per share in the range of 64 cents and 69 cents. However, the company has had an unimpressive performance over the last one month. The stock lost 10.8%, much wider than the broader industry’s decline of 1.8% over the same time frame. The current level is also lower than the S&P 500’s return of almost 2% over the same time frame. The stock has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Key Picks

A few better-ranked stocks in the broader medical sector are Edwards Lifesciences Corporation EW, Fresenius Medical Care Corporation FMS and IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. IDXX.

Notably, Edwards Lifesciences and Fresenius Medical sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while IDEXX Laboratories has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Edwards Lifesciences has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 15.2%. Notably, the stock has returned 5.5% over the last three months.

Fresenius Medical yielded a strong return of 8.3% year to date. The stock has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 10%.

IDEXX Laboratories has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 19.8%. Additionally, the stock represents an impressive one-year return of 39.3%.

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