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Complete Genomics' Shares Spike on Publication Detailing New Technology

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Complete Genomics' stock jumped sharply yesterday and today, following the release of a study in Nature describing a new technology that the company says dramatically improves the accuracy of whole-genome sequencing.

Shares of the Mountain View, Calif.-based firm closed up 44 percent at $2.93 in Wednesday trade on the Nasdaq with nearly 9.4 million shares of its stock exchanging hands — more than six times the three-month average volume of 1.4 million trades per day. Its shares traded as high as $3.34 in Thursday morning trade before pulling back to close at $2.55, down 13 percent for the day.

The Nature paper describes Complete Genomics' Long Fragment Read (LFR) technology that in addition to improving accuracy enables fully phased genomes and reduces the amount of DNA needed for testing, according to the company, which added that the technology should accelerate the clinical adoption of whole-genome sequencing.

"We expect the introduction of this technological breakthrough to accelerate the move of whole-genome sequencing into patient care, which in turn will begin to change the face of medicine," Complete Genomics President and CEO Clifford Reid said in a statement.

According to the study abstract, LFR is "similar to sequencing long single DNA molecules without cloning or separation of metaphase chromosomes." Ten LFR libraries were made using about 100 picograms of human DNA sample, and the study's authors said they were able to achieve an error rate of one in 10 million base pairs.

This corresponds to 600 errors in an entire human genome, representing a 10-fold increase in accuracy for Complete Genomics "and is unmatched by any high sensitivity method currently available," Rade Drmanac, the company's chief scientific officer and inventor of the LFR technology, said.

The company said it plans to incorporate LFR into its sequencing offerings in early 2013.

In a research note, Jeffrey Elliott, an analyst at investment firm R.W. Baird, said that while the technology is a promising approach that may find clinical use, he continues to view Complete Genomics as a "speculative name given near-term execution concerns, ongoing evaluation of strategic alternatives, and cash burn."

In June, Complete Genomics announced a restructuring that includes laying off 55 employees to reduce cash burn and hiring Jefferies & Co. to explore strategic alternatives, including the possibility of a merger or sale of the company.

GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication Clinical Sequencing News has presented further details on the method and Complete Genomics' clinical plans in an article published today.

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