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Fluidigm, Sequenom, Foundation Medicine Shares Drop Sharply in May; Omics Tools/MDx Stocks Rise 3 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Fluidigm, Sequenom, and Foundation Medicine each saw big drops in their share prices month over month in May, while, overall, stocks in the omics tools and molecular diagnostics spaces improved about 3 percent. 

For May, 21 of the 31 firms in the GenomeWeb Index saw gains in their share prices, paced by Exact Sciences, whose stock rose 29 percent month over month. Meanwhile, NanoString Technologies' stock increased almost 18 percent, while Illumina's stock was up about 12 percent. 

For Fluidigm, Sequenom, and Foundation Medicine, first quarter financial results that disappointed investors were the catalyst for their month-over-month drops. Fluidigm's stock fell 37 percent in May from April, and the day after its first quarter results were announced, the company's shares fell 28 percent in heavy trading. Investment bank Mizuho Securities also slashed its target price on Fluidigm's stock to $30 from a previous $50 price. 

Similarly, mixed first quarter financial results led to a sell-off of Sequenom shares, which were down 25 percent in May compared to April. The day after it announced its results, its stock price dropped 15 percent.

Last week, Sequenom also announced that it was consolidating its Grand Rapids, Michigan laboratory operations with its operations in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and would discontinue its SensiGene Fetal RHD test. The firm and Agena Bioscience are also being sued in India over an alleged wrongful termination of a distribution agreement for the MassArray system.

Lastly, Foundation Medicine's first quarter financial results missed analysts' average estimates on both the top and bottom lines, leading to a one-day 10 percent drop in its share price the day after the company released its results. In total, the firm's share price dropped 21 percent month over month in May.

Meantime, among the gainers Exact Sciences was helped by first quarter financials that beat the consensus Wall Street estimates on the top and bottom lines. Additionally, mid-month, the company presented data at the Digestive Disease Week conference supporting the clinical utility and cost-effectiveness of its Cologuard colorectal screening test.

A positive local coverage determination from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for NanoString's Prosigna breast cancer test was the main driver for the firm's share-price increase in May, and helped it sustain momentum from April when its stock price jumped 17 percent compared to March.

Lastly, there were no obvious drivers of Illumina's share-price increase, and its stock steadily climbed throughout May. Mid-month, the firm sued Ariosa Diagnostics and its parent firm Roche Molecular Systems for allegedly infringing a patent covering non-invasive prenatal testing technologies. Also during the month, Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of Illumina to Overweight.

The GenomeWeb Index bounced back from a weak April when it was down more than 3 percent month over month and 24 companies saw a decline in their stock prices. The index outpaced the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1 percent) in May, was about even with the Nasdaq (+3 percent), but trailed the Nasdaq Biotech Index (+9 percent).