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Flu season helps Quidel profits

The onset of the flu season helped San Diego’s Quidel Inc. (Nasdaq: QDEL) increase its profits in the last quarter, handily beating Wall Street expectations.

Quidel, which makes diagnostic equipment for influenza and other diseases, generated $53.9 million in revenue in the fourth quarter, thanks to a 40 percent year-to-year jump in sales, with earnings per share of 37 cents, compared to analysts’ expectations of 29 cents.

“The increase in revenue was driven primarily by a sudden and early start to this year’s influenza season and our ability to respond to the demand for our flu tests,” said Doug Bryant, the firm’s chief executive.

Quidel estimates its earnings per share will increase to 40 cents in the next quarter and 72 cents next year. Bryant said the firm’s product development teams “achieved several key milestones during the period,” with plans to introduce a number of new products over the next several quarters.

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