The rapid tests Meridian Bioscience (NASDAQ:VIVO) produces help doctors more easily diagnose sick patients. Judging from the fiscal fourth-quarter results the company reported Wednesday, Meridian's own operations and overall financial condition seem anything but ailing.

For Meridian's Q4, operating income increased 28%, on a 13% increase in net sales year over year. The company also upped its dividend by 27%, adding to its impressive track record for consistently increasing its dividend payouts. Meridian also reaffirmed its FY 2008 guidance; all three of its operating segments continue to look strong.

The company's life-science business is poised to make a splash in the upcoming quarter, as Meridian announced plans to launch key new biologics into the biopharma development arena in that period. Although its Q4 press release did not specify those new products, the company does mention on its website that it has been negotiating with several biopharmaceutical companies for the production of recombinant proteins for use in therapeutics and vaccines.

The market's seen growing enthusiasm for biologics from some of the large-cap pharmaceutical companies in recent months. Bristol-Meyers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) announced in September that it would acquire Adnexus Therapeutics to strengthen its oncology pipeline. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) has shifted its focus toward developing biologics, while AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) acquired MedImmune in April in order to restock its R&D pipeline.

Meridian Bioscience has been a consistent performer over the past five years, and it sports a healthy balance sheet. Its U.S. diagnostics, European diagnostics, and life-science business segments continue to churn out healthy sales growth, and the company overall has been an innovator in the marketplace. I believe its run is far from over.

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Fool contributor Billy Fisher owns shares of Bristol-Meyers Squibb. Pfizer is an Inside Value pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy.