) to hold from buy.
Analyst Ricky Goldwasser says her downgrade reflects a change in the competitive environment for cervical cancer screening. She notes Roche acquired a broad HPV (human papillomavirus) patent portfolio from Institute Pasteur. This means Roche can now develop and commercialize screening tests for HPV that compete with a test that Digene owns.
Goldwasser says Roche told her it plans to introduce a test on the market by the end of 2003. She believes the news could put Cytyc's planned acquisition of Digene at risk. She cut her $23 target to $19.