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GenomeWeb Index Sinks in April Amid Wider Biotech Stock Losses

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index fell nearly 3 percent in April, posting its first loss for 2019 amid wider losses for biotech stocks.

The index underperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq, which gained nearly 3 percent and nearly 5 percent, respectively, but outperformed the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which fell nearly 5 percent. Individual stock performance in the April GenomeWeb Index was mostly negative as 17 of the 30 stocks saw losses and 13 saw gains.

Exact Sciences took the top spot for gainers with a 14 percent increase in share price. NanoString Technologies (+9 percent) and Fluidigm (+3 percent) rounded out the top three performers. Fluidigm was also in the top three last month, when its stock gained 20 percent.

The biggest loser in April was Meridian Bioscience, which saw its shares decline 35 percent. Waters (-15 percent) and Guardant Health (-15 percent) completed the list of bottom-three performers, though there was no apparent cause for Guardant's decline. Guardant had been on March's winners list, with a 15 percent increase in share price.

Meridian and Waters both saw their shares dip this month on disappointing earnings news.

Although its share price declined steadily throughout April, Meridian's stock dropped 14 percent on April 30 after it announced its fiscal Q2 revenues were down 11 percent year over year. The company attributed the revenue falloff to a 16 percent drop in diagnostics sales.

On April 23, Waters reported that its first quarter revenues fell 3 percent year over year, due to weak sales in China and Europe and within its TA instruments division. On a conference call following the earnings release, Waters President and CEO Christopher O'Connell said restructuring of the company's food safety infrastructure as well as a slowdown in its generic pharma business impacted Waters' revenues, while in Europe the company suffered from a pullback in capital spending, particularly in industrial applications and among its small molecule pharma customers.

On the side of the gainers, Exact Sciences benefited from its own positive earnings news. The company reported a 79 percent increase in first quarter revenues thanks to a corresponding 79 percent increase in test volumes for its Cologuard colorectal cancer diagnostic. Exact also announced it has applied to the US Food and Drug Administration to expand Cologuard's label to include people aged 45 to 49, and that it plans to develop a second, more improved, version of the test, as well as diagnostics for other cancer types.