Another Partner, but Still No Data


Sequenom (NAS: SQNM) is pushing its Down syndrome test across the pond. Last week, the genetic-testing company announced that LifeCodexx had licensed the rights to the test -- which will be called MaterniT21 in the U.S. -- in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

A regional player that isn't interested in most of the large European markets isn't exactly a major endorsement of the test. Signing up Roche or Novartis (NYS: NVS) as a marketing partner would have given the deal a little more credence. At least it includes all 36,000 people in Liechtenstein. Yee-haw!

Unfortunately, the lack of an endorsement comes at a critical time for the company. The study results testing the accuracy and sensitivity of MaterniT21 have been submitted to a scientific publication, but investors haven't seen the results yet. The company is waiting until publication before it launches its test.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, so it's hard to know how confident LifeCodexx is in the potential success of MaterniT21. LifeCodexx will make upfront and minimum annual royalty payments, but that doesn't tell you much without a dollar figure attached.

Last month, Sequenom announced a deal with Illumina (NAS: ILMN) to develop an FDA-approved test that could be run by diagnostics companies with broader reach, such as Laboratory Corporation of America (NYS: LH) and Quest Diagnostics (NYS: DGX) . But Illumina isn't paying for any of the costs for the FDA submission, so the deal doesn't seem like much of an endorsement of MaterniT21 by Illumina.

Investors won't be able to reap the full value of Sequenom -- whatever that happens to be -- until the study results are published. Even then, investors might be hesitant to invest until they see sales rolling in. Considering the history of the company, that might be a wise move.

Interested in keeping track of Sequenom as it launches it develops its Down syndrome test? Add it to My Watchlist, which will help you keep track of all our Foolish analysis on Sequenom.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Brian Orelli holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Illumina, Novartis, Quest Diagnostics, and Laboratory of America Holdings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Originally published