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Mass Spec Firms Among Best Performers in GWDN Index

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This story originally ran on July 8.

Despite the gyrations on Wall Street, the stocks of the largest mass spectrometer manufacturers rose an average of almost 48 percent for the first half of 2009, according to ProteoMonitor's sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News.

This week GWDN calculated that its Index of 36 firms in the molecular biology tools and molecular diagnostics space rose 16 percent for the first six months of the year with a handful of companies' stock skyrocketing nearly 400 percent. While none of the major mass spec players saw that kind of leap in their share price, almost all saw healthy performances, nonetheless.

Bruker's share price rose to $9.26 at the end of the trading day on June 30 from $4.04 at close of trading on Dec. 31, 2008, a 129 percent increase and the largest jump among the mass spec vendors. Life Technologies' stock rose to $41.72 from $23.31 during the same period, a 79 percent climb.

Waters had the third-largest increase, 40 percent, as its stock rose to $51.47 from $36.65, while Agilent Technologies saw its share value grow 30 percent to $20.31 from $15.63. Thermo Fisher Scientific's stock climbed 20 percent to $40.77 from $34.07.

The only mass spec vendor in the Index to see its stock drop during the six-month period was MDS, the joint-venture partner with Life Tech's Applied Biosystems, whose share price regressed 13 percent to $5.34 from $6.13.

The rise in stocks, of course, may not be directly attributable to a firm's mass spec business — the instruments are just one business for companies such as Life Tech and Thermo Fisher, which have large diversified life-science portfolios. However, sales of the instruments have performed better than had been anticipated when the year began [see PM 06/04/09], which at least hasn't hurt stock performance.

And the vendors have been aggressive in pushing new technologies to market, as each have introduced mass spec platforms during the past year with significantly improved capabilities [see PM 04/30/09 and 06/04/09]. As funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the economic stimulus bill, reaches the vendor level later this year and into 2010, the companies also expect to see a bounce in their instrument sales.

Among the other firms in the GWDN Index with significant proteomics businesses, Bio-Rad Laboratories stock inched up less than 1 percent to $75.48 from $75.31, and Pressure BioSciences had a 60 percent bump in its stock price as it climbed to $1.68 from $1.05.

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