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Opko Health, Invitae, Veracyte Pace Gainers, 360Dx Index Rises 9 Percent in June

NEW YORK – Stock prices for many diagnostics firms rebounded in June after the broader markets pushed down their share values the month before.

The 360Dx Index rose nearly 9 percent month over month in June, bouncing back from a decline of almost 3 percent in May. It outpaced the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq , both of which rose about 7 percent, but trailed the Nasdaq Biotech Index which climbed slightly more than 9 percent.

In all, the share prices of 23 companies in the index increased last month, led by Opko Health (+36 percent), Invitae (+35 percent), Veracyte (+26 percent), Accelerate Diagnostics (+21 percent), and Natera (+20 percent).

Four companies' stock prices declined in June, led by Oxford Immunotec (-6 percent).

Opko's stock steadily climbed throughout June and the company received a boost at the end of the month when Medicare administrative contractor Novitas issued a proposed limited local coverage determination for the company's 4Kscore test. Novitas had previously issued a non-coverage determination, after it had originally issued a positive LCD.

Invitae's major announcement last month was its $55 million acquisition of Singular Bio, which specializes in single-molecule, cell-free DNA analysis for noninvasive prenatal testing. Invitae had been the biggest decliner in May when its share price was down more than 26 percent from April.

Meanwhile, there were no obvious drivers of Veracyte's share-price bump-up. Late in the month, the firm announced it had started making its Percepta Genomic Sequencing Classifier available to physicians. The test provides lung cancer risk information to help guide treatment of patients with suspicious lung nodules.

Earlier in June, a review article in Cancer Cytopathology described how Veracyte's Afirma Genomic Sequencing Classifier and Xpression Atlas is aiding in the reduction of unnecessary surgeries in thyroid cancer diagnosis.

Accelerate's stock price increase occurred in spite of no announcements from the firm in June.

Similarly, there were no obvious drivers for Natera's stock price increase, although at the end of June, it announced a nationwide registry study for kidney transplant recipients. The study will prospectively enroll 3,000 kidney transplant patients and measure changes in biopsy usage and clinical outcomes based on the company's Prospera test to rule in and rule out active rejection.

June's increase in Natera's stock value also was a carryover from May when its share price jumped nearly 20 percent from April.

Among the decliners, Oxford Immunotec said in mid-June in a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it and Quest Diagnostics had amended a supply agreement covering the sale of Oxford's T-Spot.TB test kits and related accessories to Quest. In November, Quest acquired the US lab service business of Oxford for $170 million.

Meantime, company executives said that an anticipated shortage of a key antibody for tuberculin skin tests (TSTs) conducted in clinics could boost sales of the T-Spot.TB interferon-gamma release-based assay.