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Fluidigm's Shares Continue Strong 2015 Start, Pacing February Gainers in Omics/MDx Space

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Fluidigm continued its strong start to 2015 as its shares rose almost 15 percent month over month in February, pacing the gainers in the GenomeWeb Index for the month. 

Overall, the index of 31 firms in the omics life science tools and molecular diagnostics space was up 3 percent month over month. It trailed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was up 6 percent last month, the Nasdaq, which improved 7 percent, and the Nasdaq Biotech Index, which increased 5 percent. 

Along with Fluidigm, Meridian Bioscience (+14 percent) also saw a sharp improvement in its stock for the month. The biggest decliners in February were T2 Biosystems (-23 percent) and Pacific Biosciences (-22 percent), followed by Exact Sciences (-17 percent), and NanoString Technologies (-16 percent). 

Fluidigm's share rise last month followed a 14 percent month-over-month increase in January. The majority of its February increase occurred in the last week of the month, when it provided a first peek at its Polaris single-cell research system at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting. The platform integrates cell selection, isolation, dose, culture, and molecular preparation into a single workflow, the company said, adding it will enable researchers to directly correlate gene expression with environmental conditions and phenotypic information. 

Earlier in the month, the company also announced that its fourth quarter revenues grew 60 percent year over year, and 21 percent organically.

Meanwhile, Meridian Bio's shares steadily increased in February. While there were no obvious drivers for the gain for most of the month, last week the company received CE marking for its Illumigene molecular diagnostic assays for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae and for its Tru Strep Pneumo immunoassay for pneumonia.

Other firms in the index that saw a double-digit month-over-month increase in their share price last month were Agilent Technologies and Alere with 12 percent growth each, as well as Bio-Rad Laboratories, whose stock rose 11 percent, and Qiagen, whose shares were up 10 percent. 

Conversely, T2 Bio's sharp decline in February followed a 12 percent increase in January. In mid-month it reported that its net loss for the fourth quarter and for full year-2014 widened on higher expenses. After the announcement, the firm's stock dropped 17 percent through the remainder of February. 

Similarly, the sell-off in PacBio's shares in February followed the release of the firm's fourth quarter financial results. Despite reporting an 85 percent increase year over year in revenues for Q4 2014, PacBio's stock price dropped 18 percent the day after it reported the results.

Simultaneous to reporting its financial results, the company also said that it amended a deal with Cantor Fitzgerald to offer from time to time up to $30 million of its common stock, and in a research note, William Blair analyst Amanda Murphy noted that depending on the timing of any additional equity raises, a sale of PacBio's stock could be dilutive. 

Exact Sciences' share price has steadily declined after announcing a deal with the Mayo Clinic to expand a collaboration to develop tests for colorectal cancer to include other diseases within the gastrointestinal tract.

Last week, the firm said that its revenues in the fourth quarter increased 50 percent year over year. Exact Sciences also said that it is targeting at least 10,000 Cologuard tests to be processed in Q1 2015, a figure that left some Wall Street analysts feeling underwhelmed. Brian Weinstein of William Blair said in a note that while 15,000 cumulative tests run in the first six months following the launch of the colorectal cancer screening test "is a solid performance for a brand new screening test, there is no sugarcoating that the launch is running a bit light of our expectations." He had estimated 14,000 test runs in Q1 2015 and 175,000 for full-year 2015.

Exact Sciences launched Cologuard following US Food and Drug Administration approval in August.

Lastly, after reporting that its revenues grew 54 percent year over year in the fourth quarter, NanoString's stock price fell 9 percent through the rest of the month.