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Foundation Medicine, Enzo Biochem Stocks Rise Sharply as 360Dx Index Inches Up 2 Percent in March

NEW YORK (360Dx) – March was a mixed month for the 360Dx Index as 10 of the 26 firms in the index saw their stock prices drop month over month.

Overall, the index was up almost 2 percent, paced by Foundation Medicine and Enzo Biochem, each of which saw their share prices finish about 30 percent up last month. NantHealth (-35 percent) paced the decliners.

The index managed to beat the broader markets, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down .7 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite was up a little more than 1 percent, and the Nasdaq Biotech finished March down 1 percent.

In February, the index saw a 5 percent month-over-month increase.

Foundation Medicine's March momentum continued a bullish start to 2017. In January the firm's stock price grew 10 percent month over month, followed by a 27 percent rise in February. Through the end of March, its shares have risen 82 percent for the year.

In early March, investment bank Janney upgraded Foundation's shares to a Neutral rating, and the company said that it had received its first payment from Medicare Administrative Contractor Palmetto GBA for the Foundation One genomic profiling assay for Stage IIIB/IV non-small cell lung cancer.

At the end of March, Foundation and Bristol-Myers Squibb announced a collaboration using Foundation One to profile tumor mutational burden and microsatellite instability in patients enrolled in clinical trials for Bristol-Myers Squibb's cancer drugs.

The other significant gainer last month was Enzo Biochem, which bounced back from a 3 percent drop in February. Mid-month the company reported that its fiscal second quarter revenues grew 7 percent year over year. On a conference call to discuss the financial results, Enzo President Barry Weiner said that the firm anticipates receiving approvals for several diagnostics from the New York State Department of Health this year, and that Enzo's complete line of women's health products will be released during the summer.

Other double-digit gainers last month included Oxford Immunotec (+15 percent), which was added to the index this month, and GenMark Diagnostics (+13 percent).

Among the decliners, NantHealth saw the steepest month-over-month drop, as a result of a report that the company's Chairman and CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong had made a $12 million donation to the University of Utah, but that a contract tied to the donation essentially forced the university to pay $10 million back to NantHealth for services it provided. The deal reportedly also provided the company with valuable data that was used to develop a product to evaluate a patient's risk of rare and inherited disease, making it possible for NantHealth to artificially pump up the number of tests orders for GPS Cancer that were reported to investors in late 2016 by more than 50 percent.

GPS Cancer leverages whole-genome sequencing, whole-transcriptome sequencing, and quantitative proteomics to profile patients and provide doctors with information that can be used to create personalized treatment strategies.

NantHealth has refuted the story by Stat. Nonetheless, it has been hit with several lawsuits alleging it made false and misleading statements in connection with its initial public offering.

Last week, the firm reported that its fourth quarter revenues rose 18 percent year over year, although its net losses for the quarter and for full-year 2016 grew sharply.

Big gainers in February that saw a slowdown in March included Accelerate Diagnostics, which had a 22 percent increase in its share price February but retreated 5 percent last month. Myriad Genetics' shares declined by about 1 percent in March, following a 20 percent jump in February, and Invitae's shares went from a 23 percent uptick in February to a more modest 7 percent increase in March.