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Shares of Illumina, PacBio, Myriad Rise Sharply in January

This article has been corrected to fix erroneous information regarding Qiagen. The firm's Q4 revenues increased 5 percent, not decreased 5 percent, as the previous version of the article stated. Also, Qiagen didn't sign a recent companion diagnostic alliance with Amgen.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Illumina, Pacific Biosciences, and Myriad Genetics led a group of companies which saw their stocks increase more than 20 percent in January from December as the GenomeWeb Daily News Index rose nearly 7 percent month over month.

Illumina and PacBio each grew more than 37 percent in January pacing the gainers in the Index, while Myriad Genetics (+32 percent), Foundation Medicine (+26 percent), CombiMatrix (+24 percent), and Rosetta Genomics (+24 percent) each saw a sharp rise in their stocks during the month, as well.

Of the 30 firms comprising the Index, 21 saw a gain in January, while nine saw their stock prices retreat, and the Index's increase came as biotech firms saw their shares grow even as the overall stock market took a hit. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 5 percent and the Nasdaq Composite contracted 2 percent, the Nasdaq Biotech Index rose 8 percent during the month.

Illumina was buoyed by its announcement of two next-generation platform launches, the NextSeq 500 System and the HiSeq X Ten Sequencing System, a new high-throughput platform that the company said enables researchers to sequence the human genome for less than $1,000. It then ended the month by announcing that revenues in its fourth quarter of 2013 rose 25 percent year over year, and climbed 23 percent in 2013 compared to 2012. It forecast 15 to 17 percent revenue growth for 2014.

PacBio's stock, meanwhile, continued an upward trend started in the second half of 2013, when news of its deal with Roche to develop diagnostics based on PacBio's SMRT technology provided a lift to the company's share price.

During January, researchers announced they had sequenced and de novo assembled the Drosophila melanogaster genome on PacBio's RSII platform, marking the first time an animal genome had been sequenced and assembled solely with the company's technology, as In Sequence noted.

On January 21, PacBio's shares saw a one-day 19 percent jump, though there was no clear reason.

Also, Myriad bounced back from a 29 percent decline in its shares in December when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services updated its reimbursement level for BRACA testing and cut the reimbursement by almost 49 percent.

The biggest decliner in the Index for January was Nanosphere, whose stock retreated almost 8 percent month over month, despite marketing clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration of the company's 14-target Verigene Gram-Negative Blood Culture Test.

Also, Qiagen's shares shrank 7 percent in January even though late in the month the firm said that revenues in its fourth quarter increased 5 percent year over year. It also has submitted an assay for Clostridium difficile and the QIASymphony RGQ MDx system to the FDA.

Two firms, Foundation Medicine and Veracyte, were added to the Index this month, while two others, Accelerys, which is being acquired by Dassault Systemes, and Accelerate Diagnostics have been dropped.