NEW YORK – Stocks of molecular diagnostics and omics companies were up in October, though their gains lagged behind those of the broader market.
Overall, the GenomeWeb Top 40 was up roughly 3 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 14 percent, while the Nasdaq was up 4 percent, and the Nasdaq Biotech Index was up 9 percent. Of the 40 firms tracked by GenomeWeb, 27 saw their stock prices rise month over month, and 13 saw shares drop in value.
Sequencing firm Pacific Biosciences led October's winners, as its stock rose 45 percent month over month, driven by the launch of its Revio instrument at the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting. Revio succeeds PacBio's Sequel II long-read sequencing system, and will provider higher throughput at lower cost, enabling sequencing of human genomes at 30X coverage for around $1,000 in reagent costs, according to the company.
PacBio also announced at the ASHG meeting that it plans to begin shipping its new Onso short-read platform in the first half of 2023.
In a note to investors following the launch announcement, Canaccord Genuity Analyst Kyle Mikson said the bank is maintaining its Buy rating for PacBio and its price target of $14 and said that he believes "the company has set another impressive standard in the sequencing industry as the first vendor with platforms in each read-length domain."
Cue Health shares were up 32 percent month over month. The company announced at the end of September that it had submitted an application with the US Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization for its Cue Flu + COVID-19 Molecular Test for at-home and point-of-care use.
Assuming the test receives EUA, Cue could see strong demand for testing given what is expected to be a heavy flu season. In a recent note to investors, analysts at investment bank Craig-Hallum said that based on current and projected flu levels, they are projecting "higher-than-normal flu season testing volumes in Q4 and Q1."
The Craig-Hallum note focused specifically on flu testing products from QuidelOrtho, which, perhaps not coincidentally, was also among the biggest gainers in October, with shares up 26 percent month over month. During the month, QuidelOrtho reported preliminary Q3 2022 revenues of between $782 million and $785 million. It noted that demand for COVID-19 testing was stronger than anticipated during the quarter due to "shipments of an unanticipated government order and strong retail demand."
Berkeley Lights saw the biggest drop in stock price in October, with shares down 22 percent. The company remains in the middle of a restructuring effort it announced in August aims to return to a positive operating cash flow by early 2025.
NanoString Technologies and Sophia Genetics were also among the biggest losers in October, with their share prices down month over month by 18 percent and 16 percent, respectively, though there were no obvious developments at either company that drove those declines.
|GenomeWeb Top 40|
|Burning Rock Biotech||BNR||2.06||2.39||-13.81|
|Thermo Fisher Scientific||TMO||513.97||507.19||1.34|
|GenomeWeb Top 40 Average||78.57||76.13||3.21|
|*Agilent Technologies paid a dividend of $.21 on Oct. 3|
|**PerkinElmer paid a dividend of $.07 on Oct. 20|