Editor's note: Welcome to our revamped version of the GenomeWeb Index, which is now called the GenomeWeb Top 40. The table and accompanying analysis each month will track the stock performance of the top 40 omics tools and molecular diagnostics firms by market cap that we cover and that meet certain criteria. Companies can be based outside the US but must trade common stock, not ADRs, on a US exchange.
NEW YORK – Shares of genomics research tools and molecular diagnostics firms tumbled across the board in January and were hit harder than the sell-off in the broader stock market.
Among the 40 firms tracked by GenomeWeb, only three saw their stock price increase month over month. Overall, the GenomeWeb Top 40 was down 17 percent. In comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3 percent month over month from December, while the Nasdaq dropped 9 percent, and the Nasdaq Biotech Index fell 12 percent.
The three firms that finished in positive territory were Meridian Bioscience (+2 percent), Becton Dickinson (+1 percent), and Castle Biosciences (+1 percent). The many decliners were led by Berkeley Lights (-47 percent) and Pacific Biosciences (-45 percent) with several other firms seeing a greater than 30 percent drop in their value in January.
The decline for Berkeley Lights continues a rough stretch dating back to late summer of 2021, when a short-selling report published by Scorpion Capital accused the company of "fleecing customers and IPO bagholders with a $2 million black box that's a clunker, while insiders and Silicon Valley bigwigs race[d] to dump stock." Though the report caused the stock to take a very sharp downturn, investment analysts who cover the firm said the company's business proposition remains intact, and they have expressed optimism about its long-term prospects.
Nonetheless, Berkeley Lights' stock dropped 22 percent over the last two months of 2021 and fell another 47 percent in January. Its closing price of $9.71 is well below a 52-week high of $82.42.
The drop in PacBio's stock comes after 12 percent declines in both November and December. The explanation for such a dramatic decline in PacBio's share price isn't obvious, as the firm announced some positive news in January including preliminary fourth quarter revenue growth of 33 percent and partnerships with Berry Genomics, Google, and Genomics England — though it is worth noting the preliminary revenue figure of $36 million was slightly below the average Wall Street estimate of $36.6 million. It also provided an update at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference on its progress in developing a short-read sequencing technology, a market currently dominated by Illumina.
Among the positive news items for Meridian in January, earlier this week it announced that the National Institutes of Health awarded it an additional $2.5 million to develop its molecular respiratory panel to run on the Revogene instrument. The award is an expansion of a previous $5.5 million award received last year to support the research, development, and manufacturing of the respiratory panel.
Becton Dickinson also had a spate of good news last month, including the announcement that its BD Kiestra IdentifA system received 510(k) clearance from the FDA. The system automates the sample preparation component of microbiology bacterial identification.
Also in January, the firm said that it has partnered with Pfizer and charitable foundation Wellcome to study the role of diagnostics in supporting antimicrobial stewardship practices. The collaborators will survey existing diagnostic practices to understand the benefits and gaps in diagnostic testing in antimicrobial resistance stewardship.
Castle Biosciences' key news last month was the announcement of its preliminary Q4 and full-year 2021 revenues. The firm said it expects to meet or exceed the top end of its previous full-year 2021 guidance of $89 million to $93 million. It also noted that volumes for its DecisionDx-Melanoma, DecisionDx-SCC, MyPath Melanoma, DecisionDx DiffDx-Melanoma, and DecisionDx-UM tests all grew during both the fourth quarter and full year.
In a research note, SVB Leerink's Puneet Souda said that the company is "looking forward to a catalyst-filled" first half of 2022, as local coverage determinations from Medicare should allow strong volumes for its DecisionDx-SCC and DecisionDx DiffDx-Melanoma tests to materialize. Both of the tests have been submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' MolDx program for reimbursement.
|GenomeWeb Top 40|
|Burning Rock Biotech||BNR||9.00||9.53||-5.56|
|Thermo Fisher Scientific||TMO||581.30||667.24||-12.88|
|GenomeWeb Top 40 Average||104.60||126.76||-17.48|