Labcorp raises annual profit forecast as demand for clinical trials rebound

(Reuters) -Laboratory Corp of America Holdings raised its full-year profit forecast on Thursday, following strong demand at its unit that performs clinical trials for drugmakers that also helped the company post a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Labcorp’s shares rose 3.7% to $290.90 in premarket trading.

The rebound at the company’s drug development services business helped cushion the blow from slowing COVID-19 test sales.

Rival Quest Diagnostics Inc warned last week that demand for molecular testing, which has a longer turnaround time, will likely soften by the end of year, as coronavirus infections decline.

Labcorp saw a decline in COVID-19 PCR and antibody testing in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, while revenue at its drug development services unit rose 17.5%.

The company forecast 2021 adjusted profit between $26 and $28 per share, compared with its previous outlook of $21.50 to $25 per share.

On an adjusted basis, Labcorp earned $6.82 per share, beating estimates of $4.92 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Total revenue rose 4.3% to $4.06 billion in the reported quarter.

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