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CombiMatrix Shares Rise on ACOG Recommendation for CMA

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of CombiMatrix were up 20 percent in Thursday afternoon trade after the firm put out a statement pointing to a new recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that chromosomal microarray analysis should be the first-line genetic test in pregnancies where ultrasound screens uncover signs of fetal abnormalities.

As reported by BioArray News earlier this week, ACOG was joined by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in making the joint committee opinion. The organizations also recommended that CMA be a preferred test to help identify the cause of death in stillbirths.

ACOG and SMFM's new committee opinion replaces a November 2009 recommendation that CMA not be used in a prenatal setting, citing its inability to detect balanced chromosomal rearrangements and copy number variants of uncertain clinical significance, and higher costs.

But Nancy Rose, chair of ACOG's committee on genetics and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, told BioArray News that the organizations were moved to update their recommendations because of the availability of more data about the benefits of using CMA as a prenatal test. In particular, she mentioned the publication last year of results obtained through a US National Institute of Child and Human Development-sponsored trial that compared CMA with conventional karyotyping, finding that CMA was more informative than karyotyping.

CMA is a core diagnostic offering from Irvine, Calif.-based CombiMatrix, who recently reported a 15 percent jump in third quarter revenues year over year driven by prenatal testing.

Mark McDonough, president and CEO of CombiMatrix, said in a statement today that the ACOG recommendation "is a significant milestone in the evolution of genetic testing for fetal abnormalities, but one that we had expected based on the clinical data from recently published studies … [and] we believe clinicians are now more likely to counsel patients on the availability of microarray testing and offer this option to them as a first-line test."

Shares of CombiMatrix traded up 20 percent at $2.99 on the Nasdaq late in the trading session Thursday. Its shares had traded as high as $3.70 earlier in the day.