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Strong Year for GWDN Index as Biotech Stocks Rose Sharply in 2012

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The GenomeWeb Daily News Index, which tracks the stocks of 30 firms that make genomic research tools and molecular diagnostic products, jumped around 18 percent in 2012, as biotech stocks in general enjoyed a strong year.

The GWDN Index bounced back from a difficult 2011, when it fell around 14 percent after a second-half slump.

Several firms saw their stocks rise more than 50 percent year over year, led by Accelerate Diagnostics, formerly called Accelr8 Technologies. Its stock rose 233 percent, driven by news of a $35 million infusion of cash from an investment group in late April and the naming of a new CEO. The firm is developing the BACcel system, a culture-free, diagnostic platform for the identification and antibiotic resistance testing of bacterial and fungal pathogens.

GenMark Diagnostics also saw its shares more than double (+118 percent) through a strong second half of the year. In late June the firm raised more than $39 million from a public offering of its common stock, and since then has reported strong second-quarter and third-quarter revenue growth. It also received US Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for its eSensor Respiratory Virus Panel in September.

Among the other stocks rising sharply in 2012 were those of Nanosphere (+95 percent), Illumina (+82 percent), Rosetta Genomics (+71 percent), and PerkinElmer (+59 percent).

Illumina's shares jumped in the first quarter of the year on Roche's $6.7 billion bid to acquire the firm, which ultimately was rebuffed by Illumina management and its shareholders. White its stock pulled back into the upper $30s range in June, it rose in the second half, closing at $55.59, above the $51-per-share offer from Roche.

Only five of the firms in the GWDN Index saw their shares lose value in 2012. The biggest decliner for the year was CombiMatrix. Adjusting for a late-year one-for-10 reverse split of its stock, the firm's shares were down 74 percent year over year. The good news for CombiMatrix, however, was that its stock finished the year on a high note as it came in as the top performer in the Index in December.

The other four firms that dropped in 2012 were Pacific Biosciences (-39 percent), Affymetrix (-22 percent), Luminex (-21 percent), and Cepheid (-2 percent).

Overall, the GWDN Index's 18 percent rise beat the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which closed the year up just over 7 percent, and the Nasdaq, which gained 16 percent. The Nasdaq Biotech Index had a very strong year, climbing 32 percent.

The only change in the composition of the GWDN Index this year was the removal of Gen-Probe, which was replaced in the Index by its acquirer, Hologic.


*CombiMatrix's Dec. 30, 2011 share price has been adjusted to reflect a one-for-10 reverse split late in 2012.