NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The stock prices of both Caliper Life Sciences and Illumina increased more than 100 percent in 2010, as the GWDN Index produced strong gains for the second year in a row amid a recovering broader market.
Overall, only nine of the 32 stocks listed in the GWDN Index below finished the year below their price at the end of 2009, with Vermillion and CombiMatrix dropping the most during the year.
Caliper led all firms with a 150 percent rise in its 2010 stock price. Over the final quarter of the year, the firm's stock surged 59 percent. It also was the top gainer in the first half of the year among firms in the GWDN Index.
Over the course of the year, Caliper has divested some non-core product lines, introduced new products into high-growth areas, such as sample prep for next-generation sequencing applications, inked alliances with Sony and Agilent on microfluidic products, and most recently acquired Cambridge Research & Instrumentation for approximately $20 million.
Illumina had the second-highest increase in stock price, rising 106 percent for the year. The firm started the year by launching its HiSeq 2000 sequencing platform, with upgraded features from its Genome Analyzer, and concurrently announcing that China's BGI had ordered 128 of the systems. That was followed several months later by an announcement that the Broad Institute had purchased 51 HiSeq 2000 instruments.
Though it has yet to announce its fourth-quarter results, Illumina easily beat analysts' consensus estimates for revenues for the first three quarter of 2010. The firm also purchased Helixis, a PCR instruments firm, and immediately launched that firm's first platform at what it claimed was a lower price point than competitors.
Other firms that provided strong returns for 2010 included molecular diagnostics makers Sequenom (+94 percent), Cepheid (+82 percent), and Exact Sciences (+76 percent). Cepheid is the only one of the three to have commercialized products on the market, while the other two are running studies on highly anticipated tests.
Among the poorest performers of the year were Vermillion, which was down 73 percent for the year, and CombiMatrix, which finished down around 66 percent for 2010.
Though its stock price fell sharply, Vermillion had an eventful year, emerging from bankruptcy protection in January 2010, and then being relisted on Nasdaq in July. A couple of months ago, it posted third-quarter revenues of $413,000, compared to none the year before; cuts its net loss; and inked a new agreement with Quest Diagnostics, the company's sales and marketing partner for its flagship OVA1 test.
Meanwhile, CombiMatrix undertook a restructuring this year, which included job cuts, closure of its Washington facilities, hiring a new CEO, and refocusing the firm solely on molecular diagnostics. The firm also recently transferred its stock to the Nasdaq Capital Market from the Nasdaq Global Market, which has a lower minimum listing requirement.
For the year, the GWDN Index was up 16 percent, which beat the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+ 11 percent) and the Nasdaq Biotech Index (+ 15 percent). The Nasdaq Biotech Index finished 2010 up 17 percent.
It was the second year in a row of significant gains for the GWDN Index and the broader market, which have bounced back from the 2008 collapse.
Ed. note: GenMark Diagnostics is currently included in the GWDN Index, however it is not listed below because it went public in the US during the year. Also, as of this month, Pacific Biosciences and Complete Genomics will be added to the Index, while Clinical Data will be removed.