Week in Review: Roche, Abbott, Quest, Danaher report financial results, provide perspectives on COVID-19 testing sales

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Dear LabPulse reader,

This week we saw the first set of third-quarter financial results for companies serving the laboratory space, and Abbott Chairman and CEO Robert Ford fittingly summarized the macroeconomic environment in which the companies are operating.

“Inflation continues to be a stubborn force globally, but we've started to see some moderating impacts in certain areas of our businesses compared to earlier in the year,” he said during a conference call to discuss the firm’s third-quarter financial results. “At the same time, the U.S. dollar has continued to strengthen, including throughout the most recent quarter. COVID remains as unpredictable as ever, with intermittent surges continuing throughout the world. And lastly, global supply chain dynamics [and] staffing shortages continued to impact our healthcare markets, though we're seeing steady signs of improvements.”

That and the overall drag on revenues from less coronavirus testing elevated the level of interest in the financial results and associated statements from some of the industry’s leading companies.

Roche on Tuesday reported a 4% year-over-year increase in Diagnostics division revenues for the first nine months of 2022. However, diagnostics sales growth was offset by a sharp drop in third-quarter sales related to COVID-19 products; the firm posted CHF 600 million ($595.1 million) in Q3 revenues for these products compared to CHF 1 billion in the same period last year.

On Wednesday, Abbott said its third-quarter Diagnostics segment revenues declined 6% year over year. Global COVID-19 testing-related sales were $1.7 billion in the third quarter of 2022 compared to $1.9 billion in the third quarter of last year. Excluding COVID-19 testing-related sales, worldwide Diagnostics sales declined 0.2% on a reported basis and increased 6.1% on an organic basis in the third quarter.

Quest Diagnostics, one of the largest providers of clinical laboratory testing in the U.S., on Thursday said that its third-quarter revenues dropped 10% to $2.49 billion from $2.77 billion in Q3 2021. For the quarter ended September 30, Quest’s COVID-19 testing revenues declined 55% year-over-year to $316 million from $709 million. Base business revenues increased 5% year-over-year to $2.17 billion from $2.07 billion.

Danaher’s Q3 diagnostics segment grew 9% year-over-year to $2.68 billion from $2.45 billion. Its diagnostics segment consists of the Cepheid, Beckman Coulter, Leica Biosystems, and Radiometer businesses. Third-quarter year-over-year core revenue growth within diagnostics was 14%, with Cepheid growing about 30%.

In a presentation, the company added that it expects COVID-19 testing sales of about $375 million in the fourth quarter and $2.90 billion for all of 2022.

Noteworthy studies

Several studies also caught our attention. For example, researchers at Stanford University have now published their findings in Infectious Diseases showing that rapid antigen tests remained positive in 27% of the study participants after seven days of isolation, which suggests that the five-day isolation period recommended by the CDC may be insufficient for preventing the ongoing spread of disease.

Investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have developed a self-supervised deep-learning algorithm for efficient, scalable retrieval of whole-slide images (WSIs) from their repositories regardless of size, according to a study recently published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

A multicenter study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) showed that it is detected later and has worse outcomes than the most prevalent subtype, invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). ILC is the second most prevalent subtype of invasive breast cancer in the U.S., accounting for 5% to 15% of all breast carcinomas.

Next week, watch out for ongoing reporting of financial results on LabPulse, including from Quest’s main competitor LabCorp and from Bio-Rad Laboratories, which is reportedly in talks to combine with Qiagen.


Best wishes,


Leo O’Connor

Editor in Chief

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