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GenomeWeb Index Climbs 2 Percent in April, Defying Broader Market Slump

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Reversing declines in each of the previous two months, the GenomeWeb Index outperformed the broader market in April, gaining more than 2 percent.

The Index outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which gained a quarter of a percent, remained flat, and lost nearly 3 percent, respectively. Stock performances in the April GenomeWeb Index were largely positive as 20 of the 26 stocks saw gains and only six saw losses.

NanoString Technologies took the top spot with a 27 percent gain in April, while Pacific Biosciences (+26 percent) and Exact Sciences (+24 percent) rounded out the top three gainers. This is NanoString's second month in a row in the top-three gainers list — the firm's stock rose 17 percent in March. PacBio, meanwhile, had been one of the top three decliners in March, when its stock fell 14 percent.

The biggest loser in April was Waters, which saw its shares decline 5 percent. Myriad Genetics (-4 percent) and PerkinElmer (-3 percent) rounded out the bottom three decliners.

NanoString's shares received a boost in March when the firm first reported early in the month that its fourth quarter revenues rose 40 percent, exceeding Wall Street expectations. The shares jumped again on April 9, the day the firm announced it would release first quarter earnings results in May.

The company also announced on April 30 that it has entered into new commercial partnerships with five contract research organizations aimed at expanding access to its Digital Spatial Profiling technology.

PacBio seemed to finally see some benefit from positive news it announced in March that a judge dismissed a motion by Oxford Nanopore Technologies to partially dismiss a patent infringement lawsuit PacBio brought against it last year. The firm also announced late in March that it had sold 10 of its Sequel instruments to Chinese firm Annoroad.

Exact Sciences, meanwhile, is riding high on positive earnings news. The company shook off a rocky fourth quarter that was affected by a harsh flu season and reported an 87 percent increase in testing volumes for its Cologuard noninvasive colon cancer screening test.

In a note to investors, William Blair analyst Brian Weinstein said the company delivered "a very strong start to the year with test volume of 186,000, which was above guidance of 176,000-181,000." He also noted that the firm's Q2 testing volume guidance was above consensus expectations, putting the company "well on track to hit our longer-term targets for revenue and test volume and hopefully will calm any fears about the launch trajectory. Overall, we believe the company clearly answered the skeptics about the impact of the flu season as the year has started off well and the guidance for the second quarter has the company on an impressive 900,000 annual tests completed pace."

Waters' fortunes in April were also affected by its first quarter earnings. The firm reported revenues of $530.7 million for the quarter, below the average Wall Street estimate of $535.3 million. On a conference call following the earnings release, Waters President and CEO Christopher O'Connell said the company's first quarter results were weaker than expected mainly due to underperformance of its mass spec business and a "soft market in India."

Myriad, meanwhile, saw multiple class action lawsuits filed against it in April on behalf of investors who alleged that the molecular diagnostics firm failed to accurately disclose how it billed Medicare and Medicaid for its myRisk Hereditary Cancer test.