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Exact Sciences, GenMark Diagnostics Stand Out in June GWDN Index as Brexit Fears Push Stocks Down

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index fell 0.5 percent in June as stocks and indices fell on fears of what will happen now that the UK has voted to leave the European Union.

The Index underperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was able to rally after significant losses in the last week of June to gain 0.8 percent overall during the month. However, the GWDN Index outperformed both the Nasdaq and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which lost 2 percent and nearly 8 percent in June, respectively.

June's performance reversed the 4 percent gain the Index saw in May, thanks to positive first quarter earnings reports from many companies. In fact, a majority of the Index's stocks were losers in June, and only two companies' shares gained in the double digits.

Exact Sciences led the winners in June with a whopping 84 percent gain in stock price. The firm benefitted from updated recommendations on colorectal cancer screening from the US Preventive Services Task Force. The USPSTF concluded "with high certainty that screening for colorectal cancer in average-risk, asymptomatic adults aged 50 to 75 years is of substantial net benefit. Multiple screening strategies are available to choose from, with different levels of evidence to support their effectiveness, as well as unique advantages and limitations, although there are no empirical data to demonstrate that any of the reviewed strategies provide a greater net benefit."

This appears to be a positive for the potential uptake and insurance reimbursement of Exact's Cologuard multitarget stool DNA test. It also seems to reverse the initial draft guidance language which classified Cologuard as an "alternative" testing method, and which was largely viewed as a negative for the company.

GenMark Diagnostics was, for the second month in a row, the second-best performer with a 16 percent jump. The company garnered CE IVD marking for its ePlex instrument system and ePlex Respiratory Pathogen Panel, which President and CEO Hany Massarany called "an important goal for our company."

The firm had been experiencing problems in manufacturing the ePlex, but announced in May that it had solved those issues and had restarted the manufacturing process.

Cepheid rounded out the top three gainers in June, with a share price gain of less than 10 percent. The World Health Organization awarded prequalification to Cepheid's CE-marked qualitative HIV test, Xpert HIV-1 Qual, enabling it to be procured in certain countries with global health donations earmarked for diagnostics. Cepheid also received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for an expanded claim on its Xpert Carba-R test for use directly from rectal swab specimens.

Pacific Biosciences topped the list of losers in June, falling nearly 27 percent. There didn't seem to be a specific reason for the tumble but the stock ticked up and down at various points during the month, with one of the biggest drops coming after the Brexit vote.

Similarly, Bruker had the second biggest drop in the month, losing nearly 14 percent. Despite positive news from the firm's ongoing collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop an expanded microorganism reference library for its MALDI Biotyper platform, macroeconomic headwinds prevailed to lower the stock's value.