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Vermillion, Accelerate Diagnostics' Shares Double in H1 2013, Pacing Omics Tools and MDx Stocks

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Vermillion and Accelerate Diagnostics saw their share prices more than double during the first six months of 2013, pacing the GenomeWeb Daily News Index for the first half of the year.

Overall, the index was up nearly 17 percent from the end of 2012, beating the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+14 percent) and the Nasdaq Composite (+13 percent), but trailing the Nasdaq Biotech Index (+27 percent).

Gainers outnumbered decliners 23 to six. Aside from Vermillion and Accelerate, others who saw their share prices climb sharply for the six months ending June 28 included Life Technologies (+51 percent), Pacific Biosciences (+49 percent), and Affymetrix (+40 percent). The biggest decliners were CombiMatrix (-40 percent) and Rosetta Genomics (-27 percent).

Vermillion's stock jump resulted primarily in May and April, when its shares rose 200 percent and 13 percent, respectively, lifted by the election of dissident shareholder Robert Goggin to its board.

Meanwhile, Accelerate's shares have climbed throughout the year, as investors appear to be enthusiastic about changes made at the firm starting more than a year ago. In the spring of 2012, the firm received a $35 million investment. Changes to management, including its CEO, and the board were also made in conjunction with the investment. Additionally, the firm relocated its headquarters to Denver, and most recently, announced an offering of its shares in order to raise $20 million.

Life Tech rode the benefits of speculation early in the year that it was seeking a buyer, and since a $13.6 billion proposed acquisition of the company by Thermo Fisher Scientific was announced in April, Life Tech's stock price has continued trending upward. It now approaches Thermo Fisher's bid price of $76 per share.

An announcement at the start of the year that researchers at the University of California, Davis, would use PacBio's sequencers in support of the 100K Genome Project lifted the company's shares 46 percent in January, an increase that PacBio has maintained through the first half of the year.

And despite a 23 percent slip in April, 2013, so far, has been positive for Affymetrix's stock with its share price increasing month over month in five of the six months, including a 19 percent spike in June.

On the other end of the spectrum, 2013 has been a trying year so far for CombiMatrix. Since leading the GWDN Index in December to close 2012, the company's share price has yo-yoed throughout 2013 as it named in February a new CEO, Mark McDonough, to replace the retiring Judd Jessup, and was warned in March by Nasdaq that it was not in compliance with a listing requirement.

In early April, its stock saw a one-day spike on the announcement that it expected to report record volumes of prenatal testing for the first quarter, but investor enthusiasm proved fleeting as it finished the month up only slightly more than 1 percent.

In the meantime, investors appear unimpressed by recent developments by Rosetta Genomics, including an announcement by Medicare that it would reimburse for one of the company's microRNA-based tests, but not for two other tests.

In May, Rosetta announced a credentialing agreement with Prime Health Services to cover the firm's miRview mets2 test, which has since been rebranded the Rosetta Cancer Origin test. A month earlier, Rosetta said it planned to invest about $40 million into commercialization efforts around its diagnostic tests, as BioArray News reported at the time.

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