NEW YORK – After falling 4 percent month over month in May, the GenomeWeb Index turned back up in June, gaining more than 9 percent.
The index outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which remained relatively flat, rose nearly 6 percent, and rose 8 percent, respectively, in June. The performance of individual stocks in the GenomeWeb Index was almost entirely positive last month, as 33 of the 36 stocks saw gains and only three saw losses.
Pacific Biosciences led the gainers in June with a 29 percent increase in share price, followed by Fulgent Genetics (+25 percent) and Twist Bioscience (+24 percent).
Genetron led the decliners in June with a 5 percent drop in stock price, followed by Qiagen (-2 percent) and Luminex (-0.2 percent).
PacBio reported toward the end of June that it's collaborating with the Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine on a study using whole-genome sequencing to diagnose rare diseases. The study will focus on using long-read sequencing in cases of rare disease for which short-read whole-genome, and whole-exome sequencing did not provide a diagnosis, and the partners said they've already detected missense mutations in known disease genes.
Notably, Rady Children's has joined a growing list of partners for PacBio as the company tries to make the case for clinical whole-genome long-read sequencing, especially in pediatrics. The company has a similar partnership with Children's Mercy Kansas City and Microsoft and is collaborating with Invitae to develop a clinical WGS platform and WGS-based testing for pediatric epilepsy.
There was no specific news that sent Fulgent's stock so high in June, but the company's shares may have been continuing to reflect a wave of positive news from May. In early May, Fulgent reported that Q1 revenues rose sharply year over year as the firm benefited from high demand for its SARS-CoV-2 testing services. It's next-generation sequencing revenues also grew 115 percent year over year during the first quarter.
Also in May, Fulgent said that it had made a roughly $19 million investment in FF Gene Biotech, giving it controlling ownership of the Chinese genetic testing joint venture. Fulgent formed FF Gene Biotech in 2017 with Xilong Scientific and Fuzhou Jinqiang Investment Partnership in order to establish a presence in China for its sequencing-based genetic testing services, with a focus on the cancer, reproductive health, and pediatric markets.
Twist's shares benefited from news that the company had partnered with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals subsidiary Regeneron Genetics Center to develop a custom next-generation sequencing genotyping assay for population genetics.
The company also announced at the end of the month that it has acquired iGenomX, a developer of multiplex library preparation tools for next-generation sequencing workflows, for $35 million. Twist said the acquisition will enhance its abilities to support multiplex sequencing preparations across multiple markets and will accelerate its conversion of customers from static microarray platforms to genotyping-by-sequencing workflows.
In a note to investors, Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Kumar wrote that Twist's premise of acquiring an NGS library prep company to enable the switch from arrays to NGS makes the deal "a nice, differentiated tuck-in for Twist that could become a more meaningful revenue opportunity over the longer term [that] leverages Twist's channel presence within NGS."
On the side of the decliners, there was no specific news that sent Genetron's shares down in June. But investors could have been continuing to express their disappointment over the company's first quarter earnings report in May — though Genetron reported a 20 percent year-over-year increase in fiscal Q1 revenues, it fell slightly short of analysts' consensus estimate.
|Burning Rock Biotech||BNR||29.46||27.07||8.83|
|Thermo Fisher Scientific****||TMO||504.47||469.50||7.45|
|GenomeWeb Index Average||
|*BD paid a dividend of $.83 per share on June 8|
|**Danaher paid a dividend of $.21 per share on June 24|
|***Luminex paid a dividend of $.10 per share on June 16|
|****Thermo Fisher paid a dividend of $.26 per share on June 14|