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Sequenom Shares Rise Sharply

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of Sequenom soared in Tuesday trade, even though there appeared to be no news that would create such a surge in both its price and trading volume.

Sequenom finished Tuesday up 58 percent at $5.30 on the Nasdaq. More than 53 million shares traded hands on the day — nearly 10 times its average daily trading volume.

There was no news or filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that would account for the spike, leading to the usual rumors on various stock trading message boards that news could be on the way.

Sequenom's shares went into a tailspin at the end of April after the firm said that it would delay the launch of its SEQureDx Down syndrome test until the third quarter of this year following the discovery that company employees had mishandled R&D test data and results.

"This raises significant concerns regarding the integrity of that data," said Sequenom President and CEO Harry Stylli during a conference call at the time.

Sequenom suspended four employees and put a new team in place to oversee studies of its prenatal diagnostics. It also opened an investigation into the mishandling of the data. Despite assurances from company management that they were confident of the assay's performance, the damage had been done from investors' standpoint and Sequenom's shares fell nearly 80 percent in a day.

Since then, several law firms have filed class action suits, seeking investors who lost money by purchasing shares at earlier dates, when Sequenom had publicized positive results from studies on the test.

Sequenom's 52-week high is $29.14, which it hit in late September. Its low is $2.86, which it hit last month.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Sequenom's shares pulled back 23 percent to close at $4.09. Trading volume for the firm's stock remained very high, with nearly 53 million shares trading hands — close to the 61 million shares that make up its public float.

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