Biotech of the Week: Opko Health Inc.

Opko Health competes with Laboratory Corporation of America and Quest Diagnostics on the diagnostics side and is partnered with Tesaro on the therapeutics side.

May 5, 2014 at 6:21PM

Opko Health (NYSE:OPK) is the biotech of the week for the Fool's biotech-focused show, Biotech Banter. Of course, "biotech" is a bit of a stretch with Opko, because it's working on both diagnostics and therapeutics.

On the diagnostics side, Opko Health is developing a machine that doctors can use in their offices -- it's smaller than a typical desktop computer -- that can do multiple tests off a single blood sample. While the business isn't going to significantly affect the big players in the space -- Laboratory Corporation of America (NYSE:LH) or Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) -- Opko Health's machine has the advantage that it can provide results quicker than if the doctor sends the patient to a facility run by Laboratory Corp. or Quest Diagnostics.

On the therapeutics side, Opko Health is developing Rayaldy for vitamin D insufficiency. There's some synergy with the diagnostics side because it has a test for vitamin D insufficiency to be used in its machines. In theory, an increase in diagnosis should translate into an increase in prescriptions.

Opko Health has another drug, Rolapitant, partnered with Tesaro (NASDAQ:TSRO), which treats nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and surgical operations. Rolapitant has passed a couple of clinical trials already and could be on the market next year.

Finally, Opko Health has a portfolio of investments in private and public drug companies, including its partner Tesaro.

While having multiple streams of income may be to Opko Health's advantage, senior biotech specialist Brian Orelli and health-care analyst David Williamson point out in the following video that that it can also make the company hard to value.

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Brian Orelli and David Williamson have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Quest Diagnostics. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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