Co-Diagnostics disclosed that a recent study showed that its CoPrimer platform technology can be used to detect SARS-CoV-2 in human saliva samples, sending its shares up as much as 9% in Wednesday’s pre-market trading.
Specifically, Co-Diagnostics (CODX) said that the company whitepaper found its CoPrimer platform to be “effective” in COVID-19 saliva tests without first requiring RNA extraction of the sample. The molecular diagnostics player said that the finding was the result of a study into the compatibility of CoPrimer technology with detection of SARS-CoV-2 directly from raw saliva.
Various CoPrimer assay configurations were used to consistently detect SARS-CoV-2 in minimally processed saliva in the whitepaper, which concluded that CoPrimers provide a “robust” platform for the development of such tests, the company said.
“The market for high-throughput, cost-effective COVID-19 tests continues to be strong, and eliminating the costly and time-consuming RNA extraction step allows for even greater speed and economic advantages,” Co-Diagnostics CEO Dwight Egan commented. “We believe the conclusions of this whitepaper speak to the strength, innovation, and flexibility of our CoPrimer platform not just as it relates to creating improved testing technology for COVID-19, but also additional possibilities to implement CoPrimers in various other diagnostic applications.”
Egan added that going forward, the company will incorporate extraction-free saliva direct tests into its product offerings, including those for COVID-19, and make them available globally.
Shares of Co-Diagnostics have dropped 16% over the past five days, but have exploded 1,214% year-to-date. The stock still maintains a cautiously optimistic Moderate Buy Street consensus backed by two recent Buy ratings. That’s alongside an average analyst price target of $34, suggesting that investors could reap an additional 168% gain over the coming year.
One of the bulls, Maxim Group analyst Jason McCarthy, recently assigned a Buy rating with a $30 price target, saying that testing is likely to play a significant role in the mitigation of COVID-19.
“However, current US testing capacity has been strained by both reagent supply and laboratory throughput, which is likely to be exacerbated by flu season. Co-Diagnostics could potentially help address both of these problems as the Co-Primers-based test requires fewer reagents and can be multiplexed,” McCarthy commented in a note to investors. (See CODX stock analysis on TipRanks).
“The most sensitive and accurate testing is still PCR [polymerase chain reaction]. With Co-Primers, one PCR reaction gets an answer for flu, COVID or neither. We anticipate multiplex testing to become a core component of testing as we enter the 2020-2021 flu season, and potentially have longer term revenue potential than pure COVID tests,” the analyst explained.
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