NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of Accelr8 and Complete Genomics each rose more than 100 percent since the beginning of the year, setting the pace for a strong first half of 2011 for the GenomeWeb Daily News Index of 'omics tools and molecular diagnostics firms.
Accelr8 was the biggest winner for the first half, rising 307 percent, as the firm reaches the end of an option agreement with Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics to negotiate the terms of a development pact regarding its BACcel system.
Complete Genomics, which went public in November and is up roughly 105 percent for the first half of the year, saw its shares rise sharply in April after CEO Clifford Reid said at the Future Leaders in Biotech Industry Conference that the firm shipped 600 genomes to customers in the first quarter of 2011 — a 20 percent increase over estimates that it provided in mid-March. That announcement led several analysts to increase their revenue estimates for the firm.
Reid provided further updates at the Jefferies 2011 Global Healthcare Conference in early June, saying that by the second half of 2012, Complete Genomics would be able to crank out 10 genomes per day, compared to the one genome per day that was possible during the first half of this year and the 1.5 genome to two genomes per day that is currently possible.
Three other stocks in the GWDN Index gained more than 50 percent in the first half of the year — CombiMatrix (+70 percent), Affymetrix (+58 percent), and Cepheid (+52 percent).
Shares of Affymetrix gained a boost early in June when the firm announced that Frank Witney had rejoined the company, replacing Kevin King as president and CEO. The firm is currently trading at a 52-week high.
Cepheid's shares have climbed during the first half of the year as the firm posted strong financial results over the past couple of quarters and the US Food and Drug Administration cleared a couple more of its molecular diagnostic tests.
Cepheid CEO John Bishop told investors at the Jefferies conference last month that by the end of 2012 the firm expects to have 14 tests available in the US and 13 outside of the US. He also provided an ambitious forecast of 47 tests on the global market by the end of 2016.
Of the 33 stocks that comprise the GWDN Index, 10 lost ground in the first half of the year. The biggest decliners for the past six months were Rosetta Genomics (-69 percent), Nanosphere (-58 percent), and Vermillion (-46 percent).
Earlier in the year, Rosetta regained compliance with Nasdaq regulations after it raised $6 million in a private placement.
Nanosphere's stock fell fairly steadily throughout the first half of the year. Its shares dropped more than 20 percent on June 21, after the firm said that it had received a not approvable letter from the US Food and Drug Administration for its Verigene Clopidogrel Metabolism Nucleic Acid Test.
In late May Vermillion's shares jumped on the appointment of diagnostic industry veteran Bruce Huebner to its board of directors. But since then the firm's stock has dropped back below the level at which it was trading before the appointment.
Overall, the GWDN Index was up 13 percent for the first half of 2011, nearly matching the 14 percent jump for the Nasdaq Biotech Index. The broader Nasdaq market gained 5 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up around 7 percent.
Ed. Note: Celera began the year as part of the GWDN Index, but was removed after being acquired by Quest Diagnostics in May. Starting in July, Fluidigm and Danaher will be added to the Index, while Compugen will be removed.