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Natera Recovers From October Losses to Lead GenomeWeb Index in November

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index rose more than 1 percent in November, clawing back from a 9 percent drop in October, but still underperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which gained 5 percent, 3 percent, and 7 percent, respectively.

Stock performance was mixed across the Index after an October in which only four stocks saw gains and a September in which only three stocks saw losses. In November, 15 of the 28 stocks saw gains and 13 saw losses.

After landing in the top-three losers' list in October with a 24 percent loss in share price, Natera led the winners in October with a 42 percent gain. On Nov. 9, the company reported that third quarter revenues rose 20 percent to $53.9 million and Q3 net loss of $.50 per share, handily beating the Wall Street estimates.

The company also noted that reimbursement is continuing to pick up for its noninvasive prenatal tests, even for women with average-risk pregnancies, and that it expects to secure a CPT code for testing for the 22q microdeletion in January.

After leading the Index's decliners two months in a row, Fluidigm came in with the second-best gain in November with a 39 percent increase in share price. Despite reporting a 23 percent drop in third quarter revenues and suspending its guidance for FY 2016, the company nonetheless clawed back from a 42 percent drop in stock price in October and a 12 percent drop in September — analysts and investors may be anticipating a new direction for the company after CEO Gajus Worthington announced he would step down from his positions as CEO and board member, to be replaced by S. Christopher Linthwaite.

Quidel rounded out the top three in November with a 19 percent increase in share price. The company reported a 5 percent increase in third quarter revenues and US Food and Drug Administration clearance of its Solana Strep Complete Assay in late October. The firm also announced this week that the FDA had cleared a Solana assay for the detection of herpes simplex viruses types 1 and 2 and varicella-zoster virus

Myriad Genetics led the list of decliners in November with a 15 percent dip in share price. The company reported its Q1 revenues fell 3 percent, largely due to a $17.4 million reduction in hereditary cancer testing revenues which it attributed "to reduced volumes and reimbursement."

The company is also defending itself against accusations of patent infringement levied against it in a US District Court by LabCorp subsidiary Esoterix Genetic Laboratories. Esoterix alleges that Myriad's myRisk Hereditary Cancer panel and related services make use of digital PCR technology covered by a patent, which Myriad denies.

After leading October's winners with a 3 percent increase in stock price, Alere came in second in the decliners list in November with an 11 percent drop. The company reported a 4 percent dip in Q3 revenues in early November. The filing put the firm back on track with the timing of quarterly earnings reports filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, but Alere's results missed analyst revenue and EPS forecasts, and its shares tumbled on the news.

Further, Alere was sued by would-be acquirer Abbott for breach of contract. Abbott said that it was looking to obtain documents and information as promised under their pending merger agreement.

Abbott agreed earlier this year to pay $5.8 billion to buy Alere, but uncertainty emerged when Alere delayed filing its 10-K report with US regulators. Abbott requested termination of the deal, which Alere refused. Alere sued Abbott in August in a move designed to push its potential acquirer to fulfill its obligations under the terms of their merger agreement. In September, a court suggested the companies seek mediation instead — they both appeared to agree, though that was before Alere's latest financial results were filed with the SEC.

Pacific Biosciences rounded out the bottom three in November with a 10 percent drop. The company reported a big increase in Q3 revenues, but also noted that the order rate for its Sequel instrument was lower than expected, and was forced to lower its FY 2016 revenue outlook as a result.