NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Life science omics tools and molecular diagnostics stocks eked out a small gain in July lifted by the relative strength of the broader biotechnology space.
The GenomeWeb Index rose a fraction of 1 percent compared to June, as 17 companies saw gains in their share prices while 15 firms saw declines in their stocks. The index beat the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which improved a fraction of 1 percent, but it trailed the Nasdaq, which was up about 3 percent, and the Nasdaq Biotech Index, which grew almost 4 percent.
Four firms in the index saw double-digit declines month over month, led by Foundation Medicine, whose stock fell 40 percent. Other large decliners included Exact Sciences (-19 percent) and Fluidigm (-17 percent).
The only double-digit gainer for the month was Qiagen, whose share price increased 13 percent month over month.
Foundation Medicine's steep drop was precipitated by the release of its second quarter financial results at the end of the month. In spite of a 55 percent increase in revenues year over year, the results missed the consensus Wall Street estimates on the top and bottom lines, and the company lowered its revenue guidance for 2015, saying it no longer assumes it will receive any Medicare payments in 2015 for its tumor profiling tests.
The market reacted by selling off the company's stock, and Foundation Medicine's shares took a one-day hit of 31 percent.
Meanwhile, Exact Sciences also saw its stock fall after it released its second quarter financial results and announced a public offering of its shares. Its results for the quarter beat the analysts' average estimates. The same day it announced the results, though, the company said that it would offer 7 million shares of its stock at $25.50 per share, a move that puzzled some.
In a research note, William Blair's Brian Weinstein said he was "perplexed about the strategic need for an extra $200 million in cash … [W]ith the company fully funding the Cologuard rollout and all key R&D projects, we would not expect this cash to result in any incremental spending for the time being."
The day after Exact Sciences priced its offering, its stock tumbled 7 percent in heavy trading.
Lastly, Fluidigm's shares fell, though the reasons for the decline are unclear. The company wrapped up June by announcing a new mass cytometry platform called Helios that it said will enable system-level biology at single-cell resolution. In mid-July Fluidigm announced a collaboration with OpGen to develop tests for identifying, screening, and surveying multidrug-resistant pathogens. The tests will be based on Fluidigm's Juno and Biomark instruments.
Qiagen paced the gainers in the index, and throughout July it made a number of incrementally positive announcements beginning with a development deal with Seegene, followed by the approval from the US Food and Drug Administration of its therascreen EGFR RGQ PCR Kit as a companion diagnostic test for AstraZeneca's Iressa (gefitinib) for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
Last week, the firm announced that its second quarter financial results beat the consensus Wall Street estimates on both the top and bottom lines. It also disclosed a partnership with Cell Microsystems to commercialize the startup's CellRaft Array technology for isolating and analyzing singe cells.
Editor's note: Natera has been added to the index after going public on July 1 on the Nasdaq.