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Veracyte's Shares Rise Sharply in December, but MDx/Omics Tools Stocks Decline Slightly

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Shares of Veracyte were up 48 percent month over month in December pacing the gainers in the GenomeWeb Daily News Index, which overall was essentially flat during the month. 

The GWDN Index was down a fraction of 1 percent from November despite the large gain by Veracyte, as well as significant jumps in the shares of Vermillion (+26 percent), Sequenom (+23 percent), and GenMark Diagnostics (+20 percent).

The decliners were led by Rosetta Genomics (-19 percent), NanoString Technologies (-7 percent), and Foundation Medicine (-6 percent).

Overall, 14 companies in the index saw a decline in their share price, and 15 firms had a bump-up in their stock.

Veracyte began December by announcing that Blue Shield of California had issued a positive coverage policy for the firm's Afirma Gene Expression Classifier. Around the middle of the month, it said that it had amended a loan agreement with Silicon Valley Bank.

Meanwhile, Vermillion's shares were boosted by $18.9 million in equity financing that it said would be used to build the company's adnexal mass registry and to accelerate the launch of its next-generation ovarian cancer test, OVA2.

Sequenom's shares climbed on the news that it and Illumina will pool all their owned and in-licensed intellectual property relating to their non-invasive prenatal tests, resolving a years-long IP dispute. There were no apparent reasons for GenMark's stock rise, however.

Similarly, Rosetta Genomics had no obvious drivers behind its stock decline, while NanoString's share drop followed a 40 percent increase month over month in November. Its December swoon also was in spite of clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration of a labeling update to the company's Prosigna Breast Cancer Gene Signature Assay.

Foundation Medicine also received some positive developments in December, but its shares still slid. The company and Flatiron Health began the month with a collaboration to create an integrated data platform for cancer drug development, and later, Wells Fargo Securities initiated coverage of Foundation Medicine's shares with an Outperform rating.

The GWDN Index trailed the Nasdaq, which was up about 1 percent month over month, and was slightly off compared to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as well as the Nasdaq Biotech Index, which each grew by a fraction of 1 percent.