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Helicos, Rosetta Shares Rose Sharply in January

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of Helicos BioSciences and Rosetta Genomics rose more than 100 percent each during January to lead the 36 stocks that comprise the GenomeWeb Daily News Index.

Their shares were by far the biggest gainers for the month, with the next-biggest increase coming from shares of Caliper Life Sciences, which rose 33 percent for the month. Rosetta's shares gained 153 percent and Helicos closed the month up 136 percent.

Early in the month, Rosetta said that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries will distribute three of the company's microRNA-based molecular diagnostic cancer tests in Israel and Turkey. It also announced during January that it intends to launch a blood-based miRNA diagnostic for colon cancer in 2010.

Helicos said during the month that it had reduced the price of its single-molecule Helicos Genetic Analysis sequencing system by about 25 percent to $999,000. It also received its third order for the instrument from the University of Maryland, company officials said at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference.

The stocks of several firms did not fare well during January, however, with some being hit after reporting underwhelming fourth-quarter financial results.

The biggest decliners for the month were Cepheid (-28 percent) and Celera (-24 percent).

Cepheid said in mid-January that it expects to report revenue of around $38 million for the fourth quarter of 2008, a dip of around 6 percent from the $40.4 million it posted a year ago. It also projected that sales for the coming year will be flat, saying that growth in the company's core businesses will be offset by declines of roughly $25 million in the company's non-core clinical and biothreat business.

Celera's shares have faltered since early January, when they reached a high of $11.71. In mid-January at the JPMorgan conference, Celera CEO Kathy Ordoñez said that the firm is actively seeking acquisition opportunities to further its molecular diagnostic opportunities.

Overall, the GWDN Index was up around 2 percent for the month, outperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which fell 9 percent; the Nasdaq, which dropped 6 percent; and the Nasdaq Biotech Index, which was flat for the month.

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