NEW YORK – As the broader stock market tanked last week amid fears of a coronavirus pandemic, the shares of companies in the genomics research tools and molecular diagnostics markets were not immune to the selloff.
The awful week for publicly traded stocks pulled the GenomeWeb Index down 7 percent for the month of February. In comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 11 percent, the Nasdaq declined 8 percent, and the Nasdaq Biotech Index only dropped 2 percent month over month.
Of the 32 firms included in the GW Index, 27 saw their stock prices drop while only five saw gains. Myriad Genetics (-36 percent), GenMark Diagnostics (-35 percent), and Pacific Biosciences (-27 percent) led the decliners while NanoString Technologies (+35 percent) and Twist Bioscience (+23 percent) were the top performers.
Myriad Genetics' significant decline can be attributed to its disappointing fiscal second quarter revenues, which fell 10 percent to $195.1 million, due to billing issues in its prenatal business. Q2 revenues were significantly short of the Wall Street consensus estimate of $209.8 million and missed the company's previously stated guidance. According to Piper Sandler's Bill Quirk, it was the sixth quarter in a row that Myriad has missed expectations. In addition, Myriad CEO Mark Capone stepped down after the results were announced.
GenMark also reported during the month that its President and CEO Hany Massarany had abruptly stepped down, with GenMark COO Scott Mendel being named interim president and CEO. GenMark's shares declined steadily after that announcement.
Pacific Biosciences reported early in the month that its fourth quarter revenues jumped 43 percent and beat the consensus Wall Street estimate while narrowing its net loss. The bulk of its February decline came during the final week of the month.
While many firms saw their stock prices plummet last week, NanoString instead saw a bump in share price after the firm reported strong fourth quarter results.
Shares of Twist Bioscience also climbed during February and even rose after the firm announced a $130 million stock offering on Feb. 20. The shares jumped earlier in the month on news of a legal settlement with Agilent over a trade secrets lawsuit and a 49 percent increase in first quarter revenues.