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Exact Sciences' Shares Rise 35 Percent in March to Lead GWDN Index

By a GenomeWeb Staff Reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of Exact Sciences climbed 35 percent during the Month of March to lead the GenomeWeb Daily News Index.

Exact Sciences' stock was one of four in the Index to rise more than 20 percent for the month. The other three were Complete Genomics (+24 percent), Accelr8 (+27 percent), and Celera (+28 percent).

Shares of Exact Sciences climbed after the firm received a "Buy" rating and a $7.50 price target from Jefferies analyst Jon Wood earlier in the month. The firm also announced mid-month that it had hired a new senior VP of sales and marketing.

Celera's shares rose sharply after the firm signed a deal to be acquired by Quest Diagnostics for $8 per share. The price reflected a 28 percent premium to the firm's closing stock price of $6.27 on March 17, the day before the deal was announced.

Shares of Accelr8 have continued their steady climb since the beginning of the year. Its shares had more than doubled in price during February on news that its technology evaluation agreement with Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics has been extended to June 30, 2011.

Complete Genomics' stock was initiated this past month by Oppenheimer with an "Outperform" rating and a share target price of $13. The firm also reported earlier in the month that its fourth-quarter revenues increased more than six-fold, while its net loss was nearly flat year over year.

Three firms in the GWDN Index saw their stocks decline more than 10 percent during the month: CombiMatrix (-19 percent), Pressure Biosciences (-14 percent), and Pacific Biosciences (-11 percent).

Overall, the Index was up 2 percent for March. In comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1 percent and the Nasdaq finished roughly even with the end of February. Biotech stocks, in general, had a strong month, with the Nasdaq Biotech Index climbing 6 percent.

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