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Omics Tools, MDx Stocks Tumble in January Along With Broader Market

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index dropped around 11 percent in January following declines for the broader stock market, with only one firm in the Index seeing a rise in its stock price.

The decline for the GenomeWeb Index was steeper than the drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average — which lost nearly 6 percent during the month — and the Nasdaq — which fell nearly 8 percent. But it fared better than the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which finished the month 21 percent lower.

Bucking the trend was Affymetrix, which saw its shares gain 39 percent in January, driven by news of the company's acquisition by Thermo Fisher Scientific for $1.3 billion. Affy's shares had jumped nearly 52 percent after the announcement that Thermo Fisher would pay $14 per share, a 52 percent premium to Affy's closing price of $9.21 on Friday, Jan. 8, when the announcement was made.

All other companies in the GenomeWeb Index, which tracks the stocks of 31 life science omics tools and molecular diagnostics players, saw their shares decline.

Fluidigm led the losers in January — its shares fell 38 percent. Fluidigm was also the biggest decliner of 2015, with its stock losing 68 percent of its value over the course of the year. The company was plagued by earnings reports in Q1 and Q2 that missed analyst estimates, and felt the wrath of Wall Street when it significantly reduced its full-year earnings guidance.

The company reported preliminary Q4 revenues above Wall Street estimates, but those revenues represent a drop of approximately 9 percent from Q4 2014.

Foundation Medicine (-31 percent) and Exact Sciences (-29 percent) were also among the firms that saw sizeable decreases in their stock price in January. There were no obvious catalysts for Foundation Medicine's decline — in fact, the company said it expects Q4 and full year 2015 revenues to be up 39 percent and 53 percent, respectively, when it reports earnings in February.

Exact Sciences, which was the second biggest decliner of 2015, continued its downward slide in January. The company reported preliminary Q4 and 2015 earnings that missed analysts' estimates. And it continues to feel the pinch of draft recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force suggesting the company's colon cancer screening test Cologuard be used as an alternative test rather than a recommended test.