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Natera Leads July GenomeWeb Index as Positive Earnings News Pushes Many Stocks Higher

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index outperformed the broader stock market for a fourth straight month in July, gaining nearly 8 percent month over month.

The index outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which gained 5 percent; the Nasdaq, which gained 2 percent; and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which was up 6 percent. Stock performance in the July GenomeWeb Index was largely positive, as 23 of the 28 stocks saw gains and only five saw losses.

Natera took the top spot in July with a 22 percent increase in share price, while Invitae (+20 percent) and Myriad Genetics (+17 percent) rounded out the top three gainers. This is the second month in a row in the number one spot for Natera — in June, the company stock rose 61 percent.

The biggest loser in July was Enzo Biochem, whose shares declined 15 percent. NanoString Technologies (-14 percent) and Exact Sciences (-2 percent) completed the list of bottom-three performers. This is also the second month in a row Enzo takes the top spot on the decliners list — in June, the stock fell 20 percent.

Natera's stock rose in July after the company announced it intended to raise $75 million in a public stock offering. The company later said it planned to sell 4.5 million shares at $20 per share but didn't specify what it intends to do with the proceeds.

Natera's stock skyrocketed in June after the company announced its intentions to enter the transplantation market, including plans to launch a clinical test in 2019 to detect acute rejection in kidney transplantation. That followed an announcement earlier in the month in which Natera said that it had harnessed its cell-free DNA technology to identify markers of kidney transplant rejection, and an announcement that the firm was planning to collaborate with Belgian cancer reference center Institut Jules Bordet on a breast cancer research project using Natera's circulating tumor DNA assay, Signatera.

Invitae, meanwhile, launched several new genetic carrier screening products at the end of June, which bumped its stock a bit higher — a rise that carried through July as analysts and investors anticipate the firm's second quarter earnings announcement on Aug. 7. The Invitae Comprehensive Carrier Screen uses next-generation sequencing to analyze 287 genes linked to serious genetic disorders and identifies more than 99 percent of disease-causing changes in most of the genes analyzed, the firm said. In addition, it's offering a 46-gene test, called Invitae Broad Pan-Ethnic Carrier Screen, that assesses a smaller set of common disorders, and a test called Invitae Pan-Ethnic Carrier Screen that analyzes three genes associated with cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, and fragile X syndrome.

As for Myriad, its shares went higher in July when the firm announced that Kroger Prescription Plans would provide the multi-marker rheumatoid arthritis test VectraDA as a benefit option for its employer group clients. Myriad also said that it was in late-stage discussions with Kroger Prescription Plans to implement a similar program for GeneSight, a pharmacogenetic test for selecting psychotropic drugs to which patients with major depressive disorder are most likely to respond.

Enzo Biochem again paced the decliners in July — its shares fell in June after it reported that its third quarter revenues fell 5 percent year over year. Though there was no recent news to explain the continued drop, the adverse quarterly earnings news may have contributed to it.

Editor's note: As previously announced, Foundation Medicine has been removed from the GenomeWeb Index, due to its impending acquisition by Roche. It has been replaced by CareDx, Quanterix, and Bio-Techne.