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Cepheid Leads GenomeWeb Index in September on News of Impending Acquisition by Danaher

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index rose more than 5 percent in September, outperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, and clawing back the 2 percent drop it saw in August.

All but three of the stocks in the Index — which now tracks 29 firms in the omics research tools and molecular diagnostics space — rose in September, many by double digits. The Dow lost half a percent in September while the Nasdaq rose nearly 2 percent. The Nasdaq Biotech Index rose 3 percent.

Cepheid overwhelmingly led September's winners in the GenomeWeb Index with a 54 percent increase in stock price. Danaher announced on Sept. 6 that it would acquire the molecular diagnostics company for $4 billion in cash — approximately $53.00 per share, a 54 percent premium to the previous trading day's closing price.

On a conference call following the announcement, Danaher President and CEO Thomas Joyce said, "Cepheid will significantly accelerate our presence in molecular diagnostics, complementing our recently introduced Veris high-volume system, and bringing an enhanced product offering to our customers. Our existing diagnostic businesses will benefit from Cepheid's exceptional assay development capabilities, improved access to under-penetrated segments such as small- and medium-size hospitals, [and] high-growth point-of-care and oncology testing markets."

Cepheid also received expanded approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its Xpert TV urine-based test for trichomonas, to include its use in symptomatic and asymptomatic men.

After placing in the bottom three in August's Index with a 20 percent fall in share price, GenMark Diagnostics was among the top three gainers in September with a 39 percent increase. The company's reversal of fortunes came after Cowen and Company upgraded its shares to Outperform from Market Perform, citing "channel checks" that suggested GenMark's ePlex molecular diagnostics system is doing well at early adopter sites in the EU, and that clinical trials for the test are likely to begin soon in the US.

"We've always liked the market opportunity, and after a long history of delays, ePlex finally appears ready to go," Cowen analyst Doug Schenkel wrote in a research note.

NanoString Technologies rounded out the top three in September with a 24 percent increase in share price. Though there didn't seem to be a specific reason for the rise in September, the company did report a 73 percent increase in Q2 revenues on Aug. 3, beating Wall Street expectations for revenues and loss per share, growing its installed base of nCounter instruments, and increasing sales of its Prosigna breast cancer test. NanoString led the winners in the August GenomeWeb Index with a 19 percent increase in share price.

The September decliners were led by Fluidigm, which saw a 12 percent drop in its stock price. There was no apparent cause for the stock's decline, though the firm did report a 2 percent dip in Q2 revenues in August, driven by lower-than-expected revenue from its C1 single-cell auto prep system.

Danaher and Meridian Bioscience rounded out the bottom three in September with a 4 percent and 1 percent loss, respectively.

The GenomeWeb Index also said goodbye to Sequenom in September. The company, which was acquired by LabCorp for $302 million, stopped trading on Sept. 6 at $2.39 per share.