San Diego-based Sequenom Inc., a volatile stock this year even by biotech standards, is in the midst of a particularly bumpy ride on a rumor that a group of Brown University researchers might have some strong data on the company’s Down syndrome test, according to a story in today’s Union-Tribune.

A Brown University spokesman said that researchers there have not done a study on the test. But the stock market doesn’t always let the facts get in the way of a good rally — the stock shot up 21 percent Monday purely due to the rumor. However, as I write this it is down by nearly 14 percent.

The test could revolutionize how pregnant women are tested for Down syndrome in their babies by not requiring them to go through amniocentesis, a procedure in which a needle is inserted in the woman’s belly. The revenue possibilities for the test made Sequenom the highest performing California stock in both 2007 and 2008, reaching a high of $29.14 last September.

But as we wrote about in May, the company acknowledged that it mishandled data from in-house trials on the test. That news sent the stock spiraling to as low as $2.86. Monday it went from $5.17 to $6.39 — right now it is at $5.50.

Check back for more updates on the roller coaster ride.

DAVID WASHBURN

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