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Castle Biosciences Stock Climbs in October, Clawing Back September Losses

NEW YORK – The GenomeWeb Index rose a fraction of a percent in October, erasing part of the losses it saw in September and August.

The index underperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which gained .5 percent, nearly 4 percent, and nearly 8 percent, respectively. Individual stock performance in the GenomeWeb Index was mostly negative as 18 of the 32 stocks saw losses and 14 saw gains.

Castle Biosciences took the top spot for gainers in October with a 30 percent increase in share price. NeoGenomics Laboratories (+20 percent) and Myriad Genetics (+18 percent) rounded out the top three performers. October was Castle Bio's second month in the GenomeWeb Index — the stock was one of September's bottom-three performers with a loss of 35 percent. NeoGenomics was also in the bottom-three list last month with a stock decline of 23 percent. Myriad was the top gainer last month with a rise in share value of 22 percent.

The biggest loser in October was Invitae, which saw its shares decline more than 16 percent. Adaptive Technologies (-16 percent) and GenMark Diagnostics (-7 percent) were also in the bottom three. October was Adaptive's second month in the GenomeWeb Index, and also its second month as a bottom-three performer — the company's shares lost 39 percent in September.

Castle Bio's shares rose in October after Medicare Administrative Contractor Noridian aligned its draft coverage terms with Palmetto's draft LCD to cover the company's DecisionDx-Melanoma test, which gauges the expression of 31 genes to determine a melanoma patient's risk of metastatic disease, for patients with cancers 0.3 mm or greater, or for those with smaller cancers when certain conditions are met.

NeoGenomics saw its shares rise after the company reported a 51 percent year-over-year increase in its third quarter revenues, with growth in both its clinical services and pharma services businesses. The company's earnings beat analyst estimates on the top and bottom lines.

Myriad, meanwhile, also received a draft LCD from Noridian in October. The draft policy for the company's combinatorial PGx test Genesight now aligns with Palmetto's proposed decision, which includes a list of the specific mental health drugs doctors must already be considering for a patient.

The US Food and Drug Administration also approved Myriad Genetics' myChoice CDx as a companion diagnostic for determining patients' HRD status alongside its expanded approval of niraparib (GlaxoSmithKline's Zejula) as a fourth- or later-line treatment option for advanced, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer patients who have homologous recombination deficiency.

Invitae's stock continued a slide it started in September when it fell 21 percent. On Oct. 11, a short seller published an article accusing the company of being the next Theranos, and implying that its revenue growth may have been obtained via fraudulent measures. The short seller also said Invitae's stock was overpriced based on peer valuations.

There was no obvious cause for Adaptive's stock slide this month. The company's shares steadily declined throughout October.