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Omics Tools and MDx Stocks Rise 4 Percent in May as Vermillion Shares Nearly Triple

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of Vermillion nearly tripled during the month of May compared to April, pacing the gainers in the GenomeWeb Daily News Index for the month.

Overall, the index increased about 4 percent month over month, putting it about equal with the Nasdaq and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, both of which were also up about 4 percent month over month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 2 percent.

The steep rise in Vermillion's shares followed a number of developments during the past few months beginning with the election of dissident shareholder Robert Goggin to its board at the end of March, driving a 13 percent increase in the company's share price month over month in April.

In May, the Austin, Texas-based company also beat analyst estimates by reporting a 5 percent increase in revenues for its first quarter, and inked an equity investment deal to raise $31.5 million.

At the end of the month, the firm sent a notice of default to Quest Diagnostics asserting violations, breaches, and failures by Quest to perform certain responsibilities under the strategic alliance agreement forged between the two companies, as reported by ProteoMonitor. The agreement pertains to rights that Quest has relating to Vermillion's OVA1 and Vasclir diagnostic tests.

The other big movers in May were Nanosphere (+51 percent), Accelerate Diagnostics (+39), Exact Sciences (+20), and Genomic Health (+20).

Nanosphere, which was April's biggest gainer (+26 percent), reached a distribution and collaboration agreement with Hitachi High-Technologies and raised $4.7 million in a direct offering of its stock during the month. It began May by announcing that first-quarter revenues spiked 85 percent year over year and that it had secured $27 million in new financing.

Accelerate Diagnostics' stock price jump reversed a 13 percent drop in April, which itself had reversed several months of gains by the company. Since the start of 2013, the Tucson, Ariz.-based company's shares have more than doubled. Last month, the firm said that first-quarter revenues rose 70 percent year over year.

Gathering enthusiasm in the investor community about Exact Sciences' Cologuard colorectal cancer detection test helped drive up the Madison, Wis.-based firm's share price. In April, the release of top-line data from its clinical trial for Cologuard caused Exact Sciences' stock to plunge as much as 30 percent. However, in the past month, several investment analysts have released bullish research notes about the potential of the test, including Jefferies' Brandon Couillard, who said last week that he estimates Cologuard's addressable market at more than $2 billion annually just in the US.

The test has not yet been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, but Exact Sciences "should enjoy near immediate reimbursement upon launch from Medicare (~50% of target population), which provides an unusually high degree of near-term revenue visibility," Couillard said.

Meanwhile, Genomic Health launched its Oncotype DX for prostate cancer last month, while a national Medicare contractor expanded coverage of the Oncotype DX test for breast cancer to include patients with ductal carcinoma in situ. The Redwood City, Calif.-based company also said last month that revenues in the first quarter climbed 8 percent year over year.

As Life Technologies awaits its pending $13.6 billion sale to Thermo Fisher Scientific to be completed, its stock was in a holding pattern, inching up a fraction of 1 percent, while Thermo Fisher's stock moved up more than 9 percent.

Accelrys (-15 percent) had the biggest month-over-month drop in its share price for May. The San Diego software firm started the month by reporting a 7 percent improvement in first-quarter revenues, month over month, which, nonetheless, fell short of analyst estimates.

No other firm in the index saw its stock price dip in the double-digits month over month. The number of gainers in May outpaced the number of decliners 22 to seven.

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