Becton rallies after Wells says rapid COVID test may come very soon

Wells Fargo analyst Lawrence Biegelsen spoke with someone who runs a central diagnostic lab for a “medium health system” who on June 30 received an email from a Becton Dickinson diagnostic account representative that indicated the company’s rapid antigen COVID-19 test would be available very soon. Becton has been pursuing a rapid antigen COVID-19 test on its Veritor platform which has 27,000 placements in the U.S. and has indicated it plans to have millions of antigen tests available per week once approved, Biegelsen tells investors in a research note. Assuming 2M tests per week at an average price of $18, the analyst estimates a Veritor COVID-19 antigen test could generate revenue of about $470M per quarter, assuming Becton could sell all of its capacity. Biegelsen does not currently include COVID-19 antigen testing in his model. Therefore, approval would represent upside to estimates, he says. Biegelsen keeps an Overweight rating on Becton Dickinson shares, which are up 1% to $244.38 following the analyst note.