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Digene's Long Road Towards a Blockbuster

Executive Summary

After spending a decade developing its technology and product development capabilities, centered on testing for human papillomavirus, the cause of cervical cancer, Digene Corp. is growing its top line and finally gaining visibility. Now, the question is whether it can validate its test clinically and secure its market position, which means dislodging an entrenched cytology infrastructure. If successful, the company could become a superstar. On the other hand, its proprietary position could be undermined by other cervical cancer markers that appear downstream of initial HPV infection and have a higher correlation with disease. And Digene's focus on the HPV product opportunity has limited its efforts in developing its core technology at a time when other companies are dedicating significant resources to similar efforts.

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