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Shares of Pacific Biosciences, Life Technologies Jumped Sharply in January

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The stocks of Pacific Biosciences and Life Technologies each climbed sharply in January, as shares of many genomics tools and molecular diagnostics firms continued a rally from the previous month.

Pacific Biosciences led all of the stocks that comprise the GenomeWeb Daily News Index, rising 46 percent for the month. Its shares started climbing after an announcement early in January that researchers at the University of California, Davis, would use its PacBio RS sequencer to support the 100K Genome Project, a multi-partner effort to sequence the genomes of 100,000 foodborne pathogens.

Shares of Life Technologies jumped 32 percent on reports that the firm had hired advisors to seek a potential sale or leveraged buyout. The report suggested a handful of private equity firms have already been approached, and a handful of industry players could also be interested. Analysts speculated that Life Technologies could fetch anywhere from $50 to $75 per share.

Overall, 10 of the 30 stocks in the GWDN Index returned double digit increases in January. Other big gainers for the month included Affymetrix (+20 percent), GenMark Diagnostics (+20 percent), and Hologic (+19 percent).

Eight of the 30 stocks in the Index lost ground in the month, led by Sequenom (-12 percent). The firm faces a potentially more competitive market with the announcement early in the month that Illumina would acquire Verinata Health for up to $450 million. Verinata also signed up PerkinElmer to market in the US the firm's Verifi prenatal aneuploidy test, a competitor to Sequenom's MaterniT21 Plus test.

The GWDN Index closed the month up 8 percent, compared to a 6 percent rise for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Biotech Index, each, and a 4 percent gain from the broader Nasdaq market.