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Quidel Tops July GenomeWeb Index on Down Month for Life Science Stocks

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The GenomeWeb Index fell less than 1 percent in July, down from a gain of 2 percent in June, in a month that saw many life science stocks take a beating.

The Index underperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which all gained about 3 percent. However, this represented a downturn for the Biotechnology Index as well, which itself saw a gain of 9 percent in June.

Stock performance in the July GenomeWeb Index was mostly negative with 17 of the 26 stocks seeing losses and only eight seeing gains. One stock, GenMark Diagnostics, ended July perfectly flat with June.

Quidel took the top spot in June with an 18 percent increase in share price. Only July 17, the company announced it planned to acquire Alere's Triage B-type naturietic peptide assay business and its Triage MeterPro cardiovascular and toxicology assets for $400 million and $40 million in contingent consideration. Canaccord and William Blair upgraded their ratings on Quidel’s shares to Buy and Outperform, respectively, based on the acquisition.

Exact Sciences gained 10 percent in July, after falling 3 percent in June. The firm reported on July 25 that its second quarter revenues rose 172 percent year over year, driven by a 149 percent increase in the number of completed Cologuard colon cancer tests. Exact significantly beat analyst estimates on both its top and bottom lines, and said it was continuing development on a new liquid biopsy diagnostic for differentiating benign lung nodules from lung cancer.

NeoGenomics Laboratories repeated its feat from June, coming in third in the list of gainers with a 5 percent increase in share price in July.

Natera took the biggest hit in July with a 26 percent decline. The firm was negatively affected by Aetna's decision not to cover noninvasive prenatal testing for average-risk pregnancies. Natera has targeted its NIPT, Panorama, especially to the average-risk pregnancy market, and has seen sales of its test in that market grow.

Meridian Bioscience's shares fell 14 percent in July. The firm reported a 1 percent decline in third quarter revenues, including a 9 percent decline in revenues from the Magellan diagnostics unit, which is being investigated by the US Food and Drug Administration due to problems with its blood-lead testing assays and platforms. The company said that based on observations by the FDA of Magellan's blood-lead testing issues, it anticipates the agency will issue a warning letter requiring "periodic reporting on our remediation process." Further, it believes there will be continued delays in its ability to restart venous blood sample testing on Magellan's products and obtaining 510(k) clearance for new Magellan products.

Foundation Medicine came in third in the list of declines with an 11 percent fall in stock price in July. The company was sued by a law firm on behalf of shareholders, in a suit alleging that Foundation made false and misleading statements regarding the reimbursement process for its cancer genomic tests, including the likelihood of Medicare coverage.

This suit comes on the heels of one filed against the company by Guardant Health in late June alleging that Foundation has engaged in false advertising and unfair competition practices.