Cepheid Rises as Earnings Top Estimates: San Francisco Mover

Cepheid Inc., maker of a rapid test for the drug-resistant staph infection known as MRSA, surged to a record high in New York trading after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates.

Cepheid rose 26 percent to $43.14 at the close of trading, the highest price since the company’s initial public offering in June 2000. Earnings excluding one-time items of 14 cents a share beat by 10 cents the average of 12 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue jumped 36 percent to $80.1 million, on demand for the company’s Xpert tests, Sunnyvale, California-based Cepheid said in a statement yesterday. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is primarily a hospital-acquired infection that sickens about 90,000 Americans annually, killing about 15,000, according to the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’ve increased our sales forecast following Cepheid’s strong fourth-quarter sales result,” wrote Dan Leonard, an analyst for Leerink Swann, in a note to investors today. He raised his 2012 and 2013 sales outlook after Cepheid’s hospital-acquired infections market beat his estimates in the fourth quarter, he wrote.

Cepheid had a net loss of $1.6 million, or 3 cents a share, reflecting a one-time charge associated with the end of a patent license, compared with net income of $1.3 million, or 2 cents, a year earlier, according to the statement.

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