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Vermillion Shares Perk up on Appointment of Industry Veteran to Board

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of Vermillion climbed as much as 23 percent on Nasdaq by early Friday afternoon, following the announcement that diagnostic industry veteran Bruce Huebner had been appointed to the molecular diagnostic company's board of directors.

In addition to being a director, Huebner is expected to lead a special committee to evaluate the current sales and marketing strategy of Vermillion's OVA1 test for ovarian cancer.

His appointment was announced on Thursday, and the market responded by driving Vermillion shares as high as $5.72 today. The Austin, Texas-based firm's stock closed up more than 12 percent at $5.24.

More than 2.5 million shares of the company's stock exchanged hands. The three-month average daily volume for Vermillion's stock is about 500,000 shares.

Huebner is currently managing director at healthcare consulting firm LynxCom Partners. His previous positions include president and COO of Nanogen, president of Osmetech Molecular Diagnostics, president and CEO of TrovaGene, and executive VP and COO of Gen-Probe. Huebner also held sales and marketing positions at Quidel, Hybritech, and Roche Diagnostics.

The OVA1 test is the first protein-based in vitro diagnostic multivariate index assay to receive clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration. Last week, the company reported about 3,080 OVA1 tests were performed during the first quarter, and forecast between 3,200 and 3,500 tests for the second quarter. In April, Vermillion said that it and Quest Diagnostics had inked a deal to sell the test in India, with a launch targeted in the second quarter.