NEW YORK – After taking a 7 percent downswing in September, the GenomeWeb Index swung back up in October, reflecting growth in the broader markets as it gained more than 3 percent.
The index underperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq, which rose 6 percent and 7 percent last month, respectively. But it outperformed the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which fell nearly 2 percent. The performance of individual stocks in the GenomeWeb Index was mixed in October, as 17 of the 35 stocks saw losses and 18 saw gains.
Berkeley Lights led the gainers in October with a 19 percent increase in share price, followed by Twist Bioscience and Thermo Fisher Scientific, which both rose 11 percent. Berkeley Lights had led the decliners in September with a 45 percent drop in stock price. This is Thermo Fisher's second month in a row on the list of top three gainers — the company's stock rose 3 percent last month.
Fluidigm led the decliners in October with a 22 percent drop in stock price, followed by Burning Rock Biotech (-21 percent) and CareDx (-20 percent).
Berkeley Lights' shares bounced back after the company reported mid-month that it expects preliminary third quarter revenue growth of approximately 33 percent. For the three months ended Sept. 30, the company expects record total revenues in the range of $24 million to $24.3 million and said it placed 13 platforms, including three subscriptions, also a record.
In September, the stock had taken a 30 percent tumble in two days after Scorpion Capital published a short-selling report accusing the company of "fleecing customers and IPO bagholders with a $2 million black box that's a clunker, while insiders and Silicon Valley bigwigs race[d] to dump stock."
Though this report caused the stock to take a very sharp downturn, investment analysts who cover the firm said the company's business proposition remains intact, and they expressed optimism about its long-term prospects.
Twist Bio's most significant news last month was that it had agreed to collaborate with Centogene to develop and commercialize sequencing assay kits for rare disease genetic testing. The assays will combine Centogene's experience in rare disease diagnostics with Twist's target enrichment capabilities for next-generation sequencing library preparation, and the partners will design multiple tests and will attempt to make genetic testing more accessible to patients.
Thermo Fisher's shares rose after the company reported that its third quarter revenues rose 9 percent year over year, due to increases in its life sciences solutions, analytical instruments, and laboratory products and services segments. Total revenues for the quarter were $9.33 billion, beating the average Wall Street estimate of $8.39 billion.
In an analyst note, SVB Leerink's Puneet Souda wrote that the firm is "leveraging unmatched scale and reach into the labs, combined with a number of growth products serving key end markets and a growing consolidator position."
On the side of the decliners, there was no clear reason for the decline in either Fluidigm's or Burning Rock's shares. Neither company reported any news of significance in October.
CareDx's decline came after the release of its Q3 earnings. Despite showing growth of 42 percent in its revenues, the company also disclosed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it is under investigation about its business practices by the US Department of Justice and the SEC.
The DOJ is conducting a False Claims Act investigation into the company's kidney testing and phlebotomy services, it said in the filing. The firm also received a subpoena from the SEC for a related investigation and a request for information from a state regulatory agency.
|Burning Rock Biotech||BNR||14.09||17.88||-21.20|
|Thermo Fisher Scientific||TMO||633.07||571.33||10.81|
|GenomeWeb Index Average||147.70||142.97||3.31|
|*PerkinElmer paid a dividend of $.07 per share on Oct. 21|