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Roche’s Covid-19 Antibody Test Gets FDA Green Light; Street Sees 24% Upside

Switzerland’s Roche Holding AG announced on Wednesday that its Elecsys test, which seeks to detect antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, has been granted emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Specifically, Roche (GB:0QOK) said that the blood test can be used to measure the level of antibodies in individuals who have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The test provides a numerical result on the concentration of antibodies as well as a qualitative result. The US approval comes after the Elecsys antibody test was granted the European regulatory CE Mark approval on September 18.

“Since the start of this pandemic, our focus has been to bring effective diagnostic testing solutions to the fight against COVID-19,” said Thomas Schinecker, CEO of Roche Diagnostics. “Antibody tests like these will play a critical role in measuring a person’s vaccine-induced immune response.”

The test may also help identify recovering patients that have antibodies and who could potentially be serum and plasma donors for developing COVID-19 treatments. Convalescent plasma therapy is an investigational procedure that separates and removes the plasma from a patient’s blood. This plasma is then replaced with plasma from a donor to give the infected patient antibodies to help fight the virus. 

From the Street, Roche scores a cautiously optimistic Moderate Buy Street consensus with 10 recent Buy ratings offset by 3 Hold ratings and 1 Sell rating. Meanwhile, the average analyst price target of SFr.371.75 indicates 24% upside potential from current levels.

Berenberg Bank analyst Luisa Hector recently initiated the stock’s coverage with a Hold rating and SFr.350 price target. Hector projects solid fundamentals and attractive valuations in the global pharma space.

The analyst forecasts 6% annual sales growth and a 10% earnings compound annual growth rate for the sector through 2024. (See Roche stock analysis on TipRanks).

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