NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A tumultuous global stock market weighed heavily on the shares of companies in the omics life science tools and molecular diagnostics space in August as the GenomeWeb Index fell nearly 8 percent month over month.
The number of decliners outnumbered the number of gainers 25 to seven in August, and the index also fell more sharply than the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite, both of which fell about 7 percent month over month. It beat the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, however, which saw an 11 percent contraction in August.
Pacing the decliners was Fluidigm, whose share price retreated 39 percent last month, while Sequenom (-24 percent) and Bio-Reference Laboratories (-22 percent) also saw large drops. Meanwhile, GenMark Diagnostics (+22 percent), Foundation Medicine (+16 percent), and Myriad Genetics (+10 percent) were the only firms to see double-digit improvements in their share prices in August.
Fluidigm began the month with the announcement that its second quarter revenues grew 4 percent compared to the year-ago quarter, but it missed the consensus Wall Street estimate on the top line. Additionally, the firm lowered its full-year 2015 revenue guidance.
Later in the month, Fluidigm got unwelcome news when Becton Dickinson said that it acquired single-cell genomics startup Cellular Research, a transaction that Leerink's Dan Leonard said could provide a competitive challenge to Fluidigm. While Cellular Research is still in the early days of commercializing its technology, BD's marketing resources "could accelerate the commercialization of its library prep chemistry used for single-cell gene expression analysis on next-gen sequencing," Leonard said.
Last week, though, Fluidigm launched its new C1 platform with a new integrated fluidic circuit and reagent kit which increases throughput, a product that the company said it anticipates will attract new customers to its instrument.
Meanwhile, Sequenom said last month that its revenues for the second quarter shrank 18 percent year over year and fell short of analysts' average estimates on the top and bottom lines.
Not all the news was bad, however. The company has been developing a liquid biopsy assay, and at the end of August it announced a collaboration with the University of California, San Diego to test the utility of the assay to profile circulating tumor DNA in blood to monitor cancer patients and aid in therapy selection. On Friday, Sequenom also filed a shelf registration to offer up to $300 million in securities.
Lastly, investors rushed to sell off their shares of Bio-Reference Laboratories before Opko completed its $1.47 billion acquisition of the company. The deal closed on Aug. 20, and Opko's diagnostic services are being merged with Bio-Reference.
Among the gainers, GenMark's shares steadily climbed throughout August after it reported a 17 percent increase in its second quarter revenues.
Foundation Medicine's stock had a sharp uptick after a 40 percent downswing month over month in July.
Myriad Genetics, meantime, reported several positive developments last month. While its fiscal fourth quarter revenues grew just 1 percent year over year, they beat the consensus Wall Street estimate. Mid-month, the company also announced that Medicare contractor Noridian issued a final local coverage decision for its Prolaris prostate cancer test, and last week Wells Fargo upgraded Myriad's shares to an Outperform rating, saying its hereditary cancer testing business has stabilized after a period of market share loss.