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Omics, MDx Stocks Rise 5 Percent in June Led by Exact Sciences, Sequenom, PacBio, and GenMark

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – After a mixed picture in May, shares of firms in the omics research tools and MDx space rebounded in June as the GenomeWeb Daily News Index improved by more than 5 percent month over month.

Exact Sciences (+26 percent) paced the gainers, followed by Sequenom (+26 percent), Pacific Biosciences (+25 percent), and GenMark Diagnostics (+23 percent).

Vermillion (-4 percent) and CombiMatrix (-4 percent) were the biggest decliners in June.

Overall, 26 of the 29 companies in the Index saw their stocks rise during the month as the broader market, and in particular the broader biotech space, heated up in June.

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained a fraction of 1 percent month over month and the Nasdaq increased 4 percent, the Nasdaq Biotech Index was up 7 percent.

Exact Sciences' stock appears to have benefitted from Goldman Sachs' coverage initiation of the company at the start of June. Following the investment bank's action early in the month, Exact Sciences' shares jumped 25 percent.

The firm is currently awaiting a decision by the US Food and Drug Administration on its premarket approval submission for the Cologuard molecular screening test for colorectal cancer. In March, an FDA advisory committee unanimously recommended approval for the test, and while there is no guarantee the agency will follow the recommendation, it often does so.

In a research note today William Blair analyst Brian Weinstein said that if approval is granted, "the company will be extremely well prepared to successfully launch the test from an operational standpoint.

"The company's facilities, which now include a fully operational lab and state-of-the-art call center, are very impressive, and the team that CEO Kevin Conroy has built seems extremely capable of commercializing this test," Weinstein said. "Second, management remains confident that the pathway to securing favorable reimbursement is clear."

Sequenom, meanwhile, reaped the benefits of a deal with Quest Diagnostics to offer the MaterniT21 Plus test and the FDA approval of its Impact Dx system and Impact Dx Factor V Leiden and Factor II Genotyping test. The company also said it is selling its bioscience business to Agena Bioscience for $31.8 million.

William Blair upgraded Sequenom's stock to an Outperform rating following the deal with Quest, which eventually will end its agreement with Natera to offer that firm's Panorama non-invasive prenatal test.

PacBio's improvement builds on a 12 percent increase in its share price in May. In mid-June, the company announced a deal with GenDx to co-market products aimed at full-length HLA gene sequencing.

There were no obvious catalysts for the spike in GenMark's shares. It was the second month in a row that its stock price gained more than 20 percent.