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GenomeWeb Index Climbs Nearly 4 Percent Led by Shares of Natera, Veracyte

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index climbed nearly 4 percent in March driven by rising stock prices for Natera, Veracyte, and Fluidigm.

Overall, 22 of the 30 stocks that comprise the index saw increases. The 4 percent gain also beat the broader markets last month with the Dow Jones Industrial average essentially flat month over month, while the Nasdaq Composite grew almost 3 percent, and the Nasdaq Biotech was down about 1 percent.

In addition to Natera (+30 percent), Veracyte (+24 percent), and Fluidigm (+20 percent), other strong performers in March included Invitae (+16 percent), Guardant (+15 percent), and Bio-Rad Laboratories (+13 percent). Luminex (-10 percent), GenMark Diagnostics (-8 percent), and Genomic Health (-8 percent) were the biggest decliners, though the reasons for their dip was unclear.

During the month, Natera inked a commercialization deal with BGI Genomics covering Natera's DNA Signatera test in China. The partners also plan to develop reproductive health tests in "select markets." The firm also announced its Q4 2018 revenues rose 29 percent year over year and that it plans on forging deals with pharmaceutical companies for its Signatera test until it has secured coverage decisions from third-party payors. Later in the month, Natera and Amal Therapeutics said they would partner on a clinical trial for Signatera.

Last week saw a mix of bad and good news for the firm. Natera was hit with a lawsuit from CareDx and Stanford University alleging infringement of patents covering the monitoring of organ transplant rejection. But the month ended with a draft local coverage determination from a Medicare contractor covering Natera's kidney transplantation rejection test Prospera.

Meantime, Veracyte received two final LCDs from Medicare administrative contractors Palmetto GBA and Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation for the company's Envisia Genomic Classifier assay, which is used to clarify the diagnosis of patients with interstitial lung disease who are suspected of having idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Fluidigm saw its shares rise mid-month on heavy trading volume and even touched a 52-week high at $14.90 on March 20. However, there were no obvious drivers for the spike.