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Nanosphere, Vermillion Shares Tumble in August

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of Nanosphere and Vermillion were hit hardest in another down month for molecular tools and diagnostics firms and the broader market in general.

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average down around 4 percent for the month, and tech stocks being hit even harder — the Nasdaq was down almost 7 percent and the Nasdaq Biotech Index dropped 3 percent — it was unsurprising that most of the stocks in the GenomeWeb Daily News Index declined in August. Overall, the Index was down about 4 percent, and only eight of the 34 firms in the Index saw their shares rise for the month.

Shares of Nanosphere and Vermillion had the steepest drop, down 37 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Rosetta Genomics was the only other firm to drop more than 20 percent and was down 23 percent for the month.

Nanosphere began the month by reporting that its second-quarter net loss jumped 64 percent year over year. Though its revenues increased 28 percent, it still fell short of analysts' expectations.

Toward the end of the month, Nanosphere announced that it would pay $4 million to settle patent litigation brought against the firm by Eppendorf.

Vermillion's shares have fallen steadily over the past few months. Since June 1, its shares are down 55 percent.

It was re-listed on Nasdaq at the beginning of July after regaining compliance with listing requirements. The firm emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

The only firms whose stocks gained in the double digits were Genomic Health and Exact Sciences, up 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively, for the month.

In early August, Genomic Health reported that its second-quarter revenues increased 19 percent year over year, while posting its first-ever quarterly profit. The firm, however, lowered its revenue and earnings guidance for the year, but the market was unfazed.

Shares of Exact Sciences surged slightly over the last week of the month, despite a lack of apparent catalysts. The firm ended July by posting flat Q2 revenues. Exact expects to report results of a study on its stool-based DNA test for colorectal cancer screening in October at the American Association of Cancer Research meeting in Philadelphia, which will likely drive investor interest over the next couple of months.

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