By Adrienne Burke
A look back at the early days of the GTI invokes memories of headier times. In the first issue of GT one year ago, we published the list of companies we’d selected for our index along with the year-ago data for those few that had actually been publicly traded for at least a year already by July 31, 2000 — only 12 of the 26 had. With the exception of Affymetrix, the percent increase in stock price since the previous year for each of them was well over 100 percent.
Some of the numbers were downright astounding: Aurora Biosciences’ $80.50 share price represented an 891 percent spike over the year-ago period. Celera, trading then at $86.63 per share, was up 557 percent. Qiagen was up 453 percent, LJL 444 percent, and Gene Logic 373 percent. (Affy’s $165.13 stock price on July 31, 2000 was a mere 88 percent improvement over its July 31, 1999 price.) Indeed, there wasn’t a minus symbol in the year-ago column. It wasn’t until we got around to publishing data for December that signs of trouble started creeping in.
Now, as you’ll note on the chart below, a comparison of July 2001 with July 2000 data isn’t so heartening. We’ve got 32 companies on the index today, and a full year’s trading data for 75 percent of them. Only Invitrogen is spared a minus symbol in its percent-change-from-a-year-ago column — it’s up two percent from 2000. With few exceptions, every other company is down at least 50 percent since we started. Celera’s back trading at $30.
Some — Affy, Incyte, Lynx, Molecular Devices, and Nanogen — are faring worse now than they were even two years ago. Applied Biosystems seems to be a barometer for the industry. When we began the index, it was up 222 percent from the 1999 share price, but it’s now back down to within 26 cents of its July 1999 share price. The year, it seems, was a wash. But wasn’t it fun while it lasted?