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GenomeWeb Index Rebounds in August as Companies Benefit From Positive Earnings News

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) -- The GenomeWeb Index rose 4 percent in August, rebounding from a 1 percent loss in July, and reversing the losses many life science stocks saw last month.

The Index outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq, which were flat and gained 1 percent, respectively. However, the Index didn't perform as well as the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which gained 5 percent in August. Stock performance in the August GenomeWeb Index was mostly positive with 19 of the 26 stocks seeing gains and only seven seeing losses.

Natera, which was July's biggest loser with a 26 percent dip in stock price, was August's biggest gainer with a 53 percent increase in share value. The firm was negatively affected last month by Aetna's decision not to cover noninvasive prenatal testing for average-risk pregnancies, but it recently reported second quarter financial results that beat analyst estimates on the top and bottom lines.

The company also noted that it recently launched its circulating tumor DNA technology Signatera for research use only by oncology researchers and pharma firms. Ultimately, Natera anticipates that the market for minimal residual disease and recurrence monitoring in cancer could be $12 billion in the US.

Pacific Biosciences was the second biggest gainer this month with a 52 increase in share price. The company reported disappointing Q2 earnings, but said that it introduced a software upgrade to its Sequel system that has increased read lengths and throughput, and that it is planning additional improvements to sample prep, chemistry, and software throughout the year that should double average throughput. In addition, CEO Mike Hunkapiller said that the firm is looking at the potential of forming a clinical distribution agreement with another company, in particular, one based in China.

Myriad Genetics came in third place with a 26 percent increase in share price. The company recently reported an 8 percent increase in fourth quarter revenues, and announced that Medicare contractor Palmetto GBA and insurer Anthem had issued positive coverage decisions for its breast cancer recurrence test EndoPredict.

GenMark Diagnostics topped the list of August decliners with an 18 percent drop in share price. The firm reported that Q2 revenues fell 1 percent, and it missed the average analyst estimate for its loss per share.

Hologic lost 13 percent in August. Despite reporting a 12 percent increase in revenues for the third quarter, the market reacted negatively when the firm lowered its revenue guidance for full-year 2017 to between $3.04 billion and $3.06 billion from a previous guidance of $3.05 billion to $3.08 billion. Analysts were expecting revenues of $3.07 billion for the year.

Bio-Rad rounded out the list of top-three decliners with an 8 percent loss in August.