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GenomeWeb Index Slows Down in September; Quidel Leads Winners

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index rose 1 percent in September, slowing down from August's 4 percent gain as uncertainty over the fate of the Affordable Care Act and disappointment at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' preliminary 2018 prices for clinical lab tests under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act affected stocks.

The Index underperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which gained 2 percent, but performed on par with the Nasdaq and outperformed the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which was flat. Stock performance in the September GenomeWeb Index was mostly positive with 16 of the 26 stocks seeing gains and only 10 seeing losses.

Quidel was September's biggest winner, with a 26 percent increase in share price. On Sept. 18, the firm amended its previously announced acquisition of Alere's Triage B-type naturietic peptide assay business to include Quidel's direct commercial responsibility for the assays run on Beckman Coulter analyzers. As a result of the amended terms, the purchase of Alere's BNP business and the MeterPro business is now estimated at $680 million, including $400 million for the Triage business, $40 million in contingent consideration, and $240 million in deferred consideration for the BNP business, Quidel said. The original purchase price was estimated at $440 million.

Piper Jaffray upgraded Quidel to Overweight the next day on the strength of the amended deal. In a note to investors, Piper Jaffray analyst William Quirk said he anticipates Quidel's shares will continue to rise as investors continue to assess how accretive the updated terms of the deal are to the company. He also raised his estimate of Quidel's 2018 EPS by 64 percent, and modeled 41 percent growth in its 2019 EPS.

Myriad was September's second bigger gainer with a 19 percent increase in share price, marking the stock's second month in a row in the top three of the GW Index. The company received positive news from CMS when reimbursement rates for its myRisk Hereditary Cancer test and Vectra DA rheumatoid arthritis test increased under the new PAMA pricing guidelines.

Exact Sciences rounded out the top three with a 12 percent increase in share price.

Enzo Biochem led the decliners in September with a 7 percent decrease in share price. The company reported on Sept. 27 that overall fourth quarter revenues rose 6 percent, including a 13 percent increase in clinical labs revenues. But product revenues fell 7 percent, and the firm went from income of $.77 per share a year ago to $.00 in Q4 2017.

Hologic and Invitae each declined 5 percent in September.