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Shares of CombiMatrix, Helicos Hit Hard in Tough May for Stock Market

This is a corrected version of an article that appeared briefly on the GenomeWeb site earlier Wednesday that contained incorrect historical stock data.

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of CombiMatrix and Helicos BioSciences dropped sharply during the month of May, as the broader market sagged and both firms recently announced restructurings and reported declines in first-quarter revenues.

Only three of the 33 companies in the GenomeWeb Daily News Index saw their shares gain value during the month. Overall, the Index was down 8 percent, compared to a nearly 9 percent decline for the Dow Jones Industrial Average; an 8 percent drop for the Nasdaq; and an 11 percent tumble for the Nasdaq Biotech Index.

Helicos' shares fell 40 percent during the month of May, while CombiMatrix dropped 30 percent.

Helicos announced a 50 percent year-over-year decline in first-quarter revenues and said that it was starting the process of repositioning its strategy with a focus on the molecular diagnostics field. Part of that repositioning includes laying off half of its workforce, or 40 positions.

Meanwhile, CombiMatrix had announced a restructuring at the end of April, which included shutting down its operations in Washington, focusing on its molecular diagnostics services business in California, cutting an unspecified number of employees, and conducting a search for a new CEO. During May, it reported a 13 percent drop in first-quarter revenues year over year.

The firm began this month by announcing that it had instructed its investment bankers to cease their work in identifying and pursuing potential partners for a merger, acquisition, or purchase of its assets. The market responded by send CombiMatrix's shares down 17 percent in Tuesday trade.

Shares of Myriad Genetics also were down sharply (24 percent), as the firm reported revenues early in the month that fell short of analysts' consensus estimate.

The three stocks in the Index that gained value during the month included Luminex (+5 percent), Illumina (under 1 percent), and Millipore, which was up less than a tenth of a percent.

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