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Mirroring Broader Market Decline, Shares of Diagnostics Firms Take a Hit in December

NEW YORK (360Dx) – The broader markets weighed down the share prices of almost every diagnostic firm in December as the 360Dx Index slid nearly 12 percent compared to November. 

Of the 28 companies in the index, only one, Veracyte (+3 percent), saw a month-over-month improvement in its stock price last month. 

The US government shutdown, as well as the simmering trade feud with China, negatively impacted every sector as the broader markets declined in December. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite were down 9 percent month over month while the Nasdaq Biotech Index shed 11 percent of its value. 

NantHealth (-39 percent), NeoGenomics (-23 percent), and Accelerate Diagnostics (-22 percent) were the biggest decliners last month. December continued a difficult year for NantHealth, which also was the biggest decliner in the index in November. The only news the firm announced during the month was that it would present new findings at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. 

NeoGenomics, meanwhile, announced mid-month that it closed on its acquisition of Genoptix for $125 million in cash? and 1 million shares of NeoGenomics' shares. In late November it also said that it had inked a master service agreement with Qiagen to hasten the development and launch of companion diagnostics with pharmaceutical partners. 

Accelerate Diagnostics' shares declined despite an absence of news last month. Late in November, though, the company provided details about its efforts to improve on the gold-standard culture methods as part of its development of a pneumonia assay. 

Other significant decliners in December included Luminex (-21 percent), Invitae (-21 percent), Quidel (-20 percent), and Opko Health (-20 percent). Luminex's stock was apparently dragged down by the broader markets as the company reported no news in December. 

Similarly, Invitae made no announcements during the month, although Oppenheimer initiated coverage of the company with an Outperform rating on its stock. 

Quidel's stock, however, was hit hard after the San Diego Superior Court said in early December it would rule, in part, against the company in a case involving Quidel and Danaher's Beckman Coulter focused on an agreement regarding the Triage BNP test. After the announcement, Quidel's shares declined almost 21 percent in one day. 

Meantime, Opko's stock has been mired in a slump since early September when the US Securities and Exchange Commission sued its Chairman and CEO Phillip Frost and others alleging a stock pump and dump scheme. Opko ended December by announcing it and Frost had reached a settlement deal with the SEC to resolve the litigation. The news drove up the company's share price 25 percent in one day.

Lastly, Veracyte's share price rose in spite of a dearth of news in December. Its only announcement was that it had expanded its early-access program for its Envisia Genomic Classifier for differentiating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) from other interstitial lung diseases.