NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Reversing its 3 percent loss in December, the GenomeWeb Index surged nearly 9 percent in January to open 2018.
The Index outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which gained nearly 6 percent, 7 percent, and 7 percent, respectively. Stock performances in the January GenomeWeb Index were largely positive as 19 of the 26 stocks saw gains and only 7 saw losses.
GenMark Diagnostics took the top spot with a 30 percent gain in January, while Thermo Fisher Scientific (+18 percent) and Natera (+16 percent) rounded out the top three gainers. The biggest loser in January was Invitae, which saw its shares decline 24 percent. NeoGenomics Laboratories (-13 percent) and Enzo Biochem (-10 percent) rounded out the bottom three decliners. This is Enzo's second month in a row in the list of top three decliners — the stock dropped nearly 17 percent in December.
GenMark announced on Jan. 9 that it expects to post a 7 percent increase in fourth quarter revenues based on strong sales of its ePlex molecular diagnostics systems. Investors were pleased when the firm said it expects revenues of $16 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, up from $14.9 million in the same period the year before and higher than analysts' average estimate of $15.2 million. For full-year 2017, the company anticipates revenues of $52.5 million — a more than 6 percent increase over its 2016 revenues of $49.3 million and topping the consensus Wall Street estimate of $51.7 million.
GenMark expects to release its final 2017 financial results and 2018 guidance in late February.
And at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco later that week, GenMark President and CEO Hany Massarany updated investors on the firm's pipeline and announced it had developed a new system: the ePlex NP, a scaled-down version of the firm's ePlex system targeted at smaller hospitals (less than 150 beds) and integrated delivery networks. The firm also has several other panels for viral, bacterial, and parasitic targets planned for launch both in Europe and the US over the next couple of years.
Thermo Fisher, meanwhile, made news of its own at the JPM conference when it announced it was partnering with Illumina to make Thermo's AmpliSeq chemistry compatible with Illumina's sequencers.
The firm also launched two new sequencing instruments based on its semiconductor sequencing technology — the Ion GeneStudio S5 Prime and the Ion GeneStudio S5 Plus. And Thermo Fisher CEO Marc Casper said that the company plans to launch its mass spectrometry-based clinical analyzer later this year, which would make it the first sample-to-answer mass spec.
On Wednesday, the company reported a 22 percent increase in fourth quarter revenues, driven by growth across its businesses.
As for Natera, its gains in January came after the company made a presentation at the JPM conference noting its optimism about demand for its cell-free tumor DNA assay, Signatera. CEO Matt Rabinowitz said the firm has already signed deals with eight unnamed pharmaceutical companies with another seven or eight deals in the works. He said that there's been especially strong interest from pharmaceutical companies developing personalized cancer vaccines as well as in the immunotherapy space.
Invitae's decline in January may have come as a bit of a surprise, given the firm's expectations for a strong earnings report. On Jan. 8, the firm said that it expects to report revenues of $59 million in 2017, which represents more than double year-over-year growth and is within its projected guidance. However, investors may have expected more, given the firm's previous guidance for revenues of $56 million to $65 million.
In fact, the firm's shares dropped 14 percent the day it announced the preliminary revenues. The stock continued to decline fairly steadily throughout January.