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Down Month for Many Firms in GenomeWeb Index as Broader Markets Struggle

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Following a nearly 4 percent drop in February, the GenomeWeb continued its downward trend, falling 2 percent for the month of March.

The decline matched the struggles of the broader stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down almost 4 percent month over month, while the Nasdaq Composite was down about 3 percent. The Nasdaq Biotech dropped 1 percent from the end of February.

Seventeen of the 26 firms in the GenomeWeb Index saw their stock prices close March lower than their price at the start of the month. The biggest decline came for Invitae (-29 percent), the result of its announcement on March 26 of a $50 million public offering of its stock. The day following the news, the company's share price plummeted 23 percent and continued sliding for the remainder of the month, as the firm increased the number of shares it was offering while lowering the offering price.

Meanwhile, shares of Pacific Biosciences fell 14 percent month over month, declining steadily over the final three weeks of the month. The drop came despite PacBio's announcement that a judge dismissed a motion by Oxford Nanopore Technologies to partially dismiss a patent infringement lawsuit PacBio brought against it last year, and its announcement last week that it had sold 10 of its Sequel instruments to Chinese firm Annoroad.

Shares of Enzo Biochem also fell in the double digits, closing down around 13 percent for the month. A mid-March report that the firm had a 3 percent increase in second quarter revenues failed to impress investors.

GenMark Diagnostics (+32 percent), Quidel (+19 percent), and NanoString Technologies (+17 percent) were the biggest winners in March.

GenMark rebounded from a tough February, as Wall Street analysts remain bullish on the firm's prospects.

Quidel had several positive developments in March and began the month by announcing its Sofia Lyme FIA test was cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration to run on the Sofia 2 Fluorescent Immunoassay Analyzer. Also, early in the month, investment bank Raymond James upgraded shares of Quidel to a Strong Buy rating from a previous Outperform rating.

Early in March NanoString reported strong revenue growth for the fourth quarter, beating analysts' expectations for the quarter and FY 2017.