NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index rose 6.4 percent in March, as the majority of the stocks posted gains, some significant.
The GenomeWeb Index performed roughly in line with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which gained 7.1 percent during the month, and the Nasdaq, which gained 6.8 percent. It significantly outperformed the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which finished the month 2.5 percent higher.
The index seems to be recovering from sharp losses in January and a flat month in February. Only five stocks saw losses in March, and most of those were quite modest. Natera led the way for the gainers with a 41 percent increase in share price over the course of the month. The gains were largely due to the company’s positive fourth quarter results — Natera reported revenues rose 6 percent year over year thanks to a 56 percent increase in the number of accessioned tests. The firm also beat analyst expectations for Q4 and 2015 revenues, and Q4 loss per share.
Exact Sciences saw its shares rise 34 percent in March, though there didn’t appear to be a specific reason for the increase. The company led the Index’s losers last month after posting Q4 revenues that narrowly missed analyst estimates. The firm said in late February that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Virginia had agreed to cover its Cologuard colorectal cancer screening test as an in-network service.
NanoString Technologies rounded out the top three for the month, with a 26 percent increase in share price. The company had an active month, posting an analyst-beating 43 percent increase in Q4 revenues. The firm is also starting to reap the rewards of several companion diagnostics development partnerships, with executives telling analysts on the earnings conference call that NanoString expects cash payments between $40 million and $45 million and recognized revenues of $15 million in 2016 —up 150 percent from $6 million in 2015. The company further received a favorable final local coverage determination for its Prosigna breast cancer assay from Noridian Healthcare Solutions this month.
Leading the losers this month was Alere, with a 5 percent decrease in share price. On March 15, the firm reported that it has received a subpoena from the US Department of Justice and that it would delay filing its annual earnings report for 2015 for a second time.
Alere was closely followed by Sequenom, which fell 4 percent in March. The firm is fighting an ongoing battle over the eligibility of a patent underlying its NIPT technology. On March 21, Sequenom said it had filed a petition with the US Supreme Court to review decisions by lower federal courts that ruled certain claims of one of its patents ineligible.
Finally, March will be Affymetrix’s final month on the Index. After considering competing bids from Thermo Fisher Scientific and a new company called Origin Technologies — formed by former Affy executives for the purpose of acquiring the company — Affy closed a deal with Thermo Fisher for $14 per share, or $1.3 billion in total.
Thermo Fisher's shares gained nearly 10 percent in March.