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Exact Sciences Shares Up Sharply in January as 360Dx Index Rises 3 Percent

NEW YORK (360Dx) – Welcome to the 360Dx Index. Each month, the index will provide an overview of the stock performance of the 25 firms with the largest presence in the diagnostics space, highlighting the biggest gainers and decliners, as well as summarizing news during the month that may explain the movement.

For January, Exact Sciences was the biggest gainer month over month in the index, while Meridian Bioscience shares saw the biggest decline.

Overall, the 360Dx Index improved by almost 3 percent in January over December. Of the 25 firms in the index, 13 saw their stock prices retreat, while 12 saw their share value improve.

The index outpaced the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which grew a fraction of 1 percent in January, but it lagged the Nasdaq Composite, which was up 4 percent, and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which was up 5 percent.

Exact Sciences saw an especially fruitful January as its shares moved up nearly 42 percent compared to December. The main driver in the stock's ascent appeared to be the release of preliminary financial results early in the month, which easily beat the consensus Wall Street estimate. After the announcement, the firm's share price jumped 19 percent on heavy trading.

The January lift also continued a trend seen throughout 2016 when Exact Sciences' shares grew 45 percent compared to 2015, as a number of private insurers, as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the healthcare program for the US Department of Defense, began covering the company's Cologuard colorectal cancer test.

Foundation Medicine was the index's second-biggest gainer with a 10 percent improvement in January. There were no obvious drivers to the increase. It started the month by announcing Troy Cox would become its new CEO, replacing Michael Pellini, who would become Foundation's chairman.  The company also preliminarily announced that its fourth-quarter revenues saw an 11 percent increase year over year. Those results, however, are short of the analysts' average estimate.

Among the big droppers during January was Meridian Bio, whose stock slid 26 percent month over month. Last week it reported a dip in its fiscal first quarter revenues, which also missed the consensus Wall Street estimate. At the same time, the firm lowered its fiscal full-year2017 revenue guidance and cut its dividend.

The announcements spooked investors, resulting in a one-day 22 percent drop in Meridian Bio's share price.

Natera's shares also took a beating, retreating more than 23 percent in January. It and Opko Health's Bio-Reference Laboratories fought over their noninvasive prenatal testing businesses, and Natera started the month by suing Bio-Reference for a breach of contract covering the technology. Natera then terminated its NIPT distribution deal with Bio-Reference.

Mid-month the company announced results from a trial that showed NIPT can be offered as a primary screen for all pregnant women. But rather than benefitting from the announcement, the company's share price slowly degraded throughout the rest of January.

Other double-digit decliners included NantHealth (-18 percent) and Quidel (-11 percent).