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Fulgent Genetics Soars in January as GenomeWeb Index Begins 2021 up 10 Percent

NEW YORK – The GenomeWeb Index rose 10 percent in January, starting 2021 as it ended 2020 — on an upswing.

The index outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which fell 2 percent, rose 1 percent, and rose 6 percent, respectively, in January. Individual stock performances in the GenomeWeb Index were largely positive last month, as 31 of the 37 stocks saw gains and only six saw losses.

Fulgent Genetics led the gainers in January with a 112 percent increase in share price, followed by Genetron (+65 percent) and Quidel (+40 percent).

Berkeley Lights led the decliners in January with a 19 percent drop in stock price. Adaptive Technologies (-6 percent) and Genmark Diagnostics (-5 percent) rounded out the list of decliners for the month.

Fulgent Genetics didn't have much news in January that would explain the stock's precipitous climb. However, the Biden Administration unveiled plans to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and expand testing across the US that could have driven some of the increase, as Fulgent has been a major provider of SARS-CoV-2 testing. Part of the plan involves increasing testing in schools, and Fulgent has provided testing for New York City public schools since September. At the end of December, the company also said that partnership had been extended through the remainder of the 2021 school year.

In a research note on Sunday, Oppenheimer analyst Kevin DeGeeter raised the stock's price target to $130 from $75, and said Fulgent is one of the companies with the best-run COVID-19 testing labs, positioning it to "steadily gain market share."

Genetron announced early in January that it had entered an exclusive strategic partnership with Chia Tai Tianqing Pharmaceutical Group to comarket and copromote Genetron's HCCscreen early screening test for liver cancer in hospitals across designated territories in China. The firm also announced research findings at the World Conference on Lung Cancer from an analysis of a lung cancer cohort that used the firm's One-Step Seq Method and other products to explore mutation patterns and gene fusions.

Quidel, meanwhile, reported preliminary Q4 revenues that increased more than fivefold from the same period a year ago. The firm has seen its stock price rise throughout the duration of the pandemic as it has developed and launched a variety of SARS-CoV-2 tests, such as the Sofia antigen and Solana SARS-CoV-2 tests. Quidel also announced at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference last month that it anticipates $1.66 billion in FY2020 revenue, up more than threefold from the previous year, with the Sofia SARS-CoV-2 antigen test contributing $1 billion in sales.

Berkeley Lights didn't have any news in January that would explain the sink in its stock price. The company's shares rose steadily throughout December, and hit a high of $106 on Dec. 22 before steadily declining again throughout January to hit values similar to those in early November.

The company announced a public offering of 3 million shares of common stock by certain selling shareholders in mid-November, priced at $86 per share, from which the company wouldn't benefit. Berkeley Lights' shares sank 12 percent the day it announced the sale.