Biotech Continues Upward Climb in October



    SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 1 /CNW/ -- On the heels of a positive third quarter,
the biotech industry continued its upward climb in October, even in the wake
of eroding consumer confidence about the state of the economy and interest
rate jitters as the markets drew to their month end close.  The Burrill
Large-Cap Biotech Index, for example, rose an impressive 6.1% in October -- in
step with the NASDAQ, which was up 5.8% and well ahead of the DJIA which was
unchanged.
    "Entering the final two months of the year, biotech is in good shape,"
said G. Steven Burrill, CEO, Burrill & Company, a San Francisco based global
leader in life sciences whose principal activities are in Venture Capital,
Merchant Banking and Media.  "Investors had a great deal to keep them
interested in biotech during the month...in particular, Biogen Idec, which put
itself 'up for sale' raising speculation that big Pharmawill go on an
end-of-year buying spree adding large biotech companies with strong product
pipelines to boost their own portfolios.  And M&A transactions have picked up
once again with several deals announced including the Galenica Group buying
Canadian-based Aspreva, and Perkin Elmer picking up umbilical cord blood
banking company ViaCell in a transaction valued at about $283M.
    "Barring some dramatic unforeseen changes, the strong performance of the
industry in the public markets will continue until the end of the year
principally driven by biotech's emerging and elite companies," Burrill added.
    "The Burrill Biotech Select Index performance is up 17.5% since the start
of the year and is on track to equal its stellar annual 22% gain two years
ago.  At that time Amgen and Genentech led the charge...now with their share
values down 15% and 9% respectively year-to-date other companies such as
Gilead Sciences (up 42% YTD) and Illumina (up 43%) have picked up the slack
and this demonstrates just how many successful biotech companies the industry
now has," Burrill noted.
    Major movers in the Large-Cap Index were Genzyme whose shares shot up 23%
in October on the news that that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
had granted its product Epicel (cultured epidermal autografts) marketing
approval under the Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) for the treatment of
life-threatening wounds resulting from severe burns.  Biogen Idec's (BIIB)
shares closed the month up 11% boosted by its announcement that it was up for
sale.  The $21-plus billion market cap of Biogen may mean that only large
pharmaceutical companies will be able to afford the price tag.
    The Burrill Mid-Cap Biotech Index also showed a strong performance with
an increase of 5% in October (22% year-to-date).  Driving the group was Telik
Inc. (up 41%), after reporting that the FDA had removed its partial hold on
clinical trials for its developmental drug, Telcyta, designed to treat
advanced ovarian cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Also jumping 24% was
Aspreva Pharmaceuticals, which has agreed to be acquired by Galenica for
approximately $915 million.
    
    IPO's heat up again
    
    After a short lull, the appetite for biotech IPOs increased once again.
Four more biotech companies rolled out their IPOs in October bringing the
total number of biotech IPOs in 2007 to 26.

    
    -- MAP Pharmaceuticals, which is developing inhalable drugs to treat
       migraine and pediatric asthma, priced its 5 million share offering at
       $12, 20% below the midpoint of their proposed $14 to $16 range.  During
       the month its shares strengthened to close at $13.88.
    -- Targanta Therapeutics, which developing an antibiotic treatment for
       gram-positive bacterial infections, priced 5.8 million shares at $10
       per share, 30% below the midpoint of its proposed range.  The company's
       shares closed down 13% at the end of October.
    -- Genoptix, a company providing specialized laboratory services to
       hematologists and oncologists, raised $85 million pricing its 5 million
       share offering at $17, above its proposed $14-$16 range.  Investors
       liked the company's prospects and in the first day of trading after its
       offering the company's share value jumped almost 50%.
    -- On the last day of the month Nanosphere, which markets a platform for
       molecular diagnostic testing, priced 7 million shares offering at the
       low end of the $14-$16 range.
    
    Two companies joined the IPO runway in October: molecular diagnostics
company XDx. engaged in the development of gene expression-based tests to
monitor transplant rejection and autoimmune diseases, and Canadian-based Akela
Pharma, which is focused on therapeutics for treatment of cancer pain.
    "The good news is that the recent biotech IPO graduates are not
floundering once they get out of the gate as has been the case for other new
public biotech companies over the past few years," commented Burrill.
"Companies such as WuXi PharmaTech, whose stock has almost doubled since its
IPO debut and Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (up 56%) are providing investors with
renewed confidence about new biotech issues.  We certainly see that our
prediction of 30 biotech IPOs completed in 2007 will come to pass...and it
could even be more given the prevailing mood of the markets toward biotech."
    Biotech Industry's Market Cap

    The biotech industry's market cap rose 3.6% in October to close at $499
billion.

    Biotech Indices

    
                                                                  %       %
                                                                change  change
    Index         12/29/06  3/30/07  6/29/07  9/28/07 10/31/07   Month   Year
    Burrill
     Biotech
     Select         303.96   317.03    319.5   348.75   357.14   2.41%  17.50%
    Burrill
     Large Cap
     Biotech        424.56   419.97   409.56   450.85   478.59   6.15%  12.73%
    Burrill
     Mid-Cap
     Biotech        171.55   179.02   183.23   199.75   209.25   4.76%  21.98%
    Burrill
     Small Cap
     Biotech         143.6   144.44   142.06   137.03   143.72   4.88%   0.08%
    Burrill
     Genomics       101.69   107.98    91.68    96.62   102.68   6.27%   0.97%
    Burrill
     AgBio          124.52    141.8    171.3   179.11   189.53   5.82%  52.21%
    Burrill
     Industrial     150.85   148.59   163.99   157.54   160.64   1.97%   6.49%
    Burrill
     Diagnostic     122.79   136.76   149.77   169.72   175.89   3.64%  43.24%
    Burrill
     Nutraceutical  629.56    639.2   613.86   677.58   693.44   2.34%  10.15%
    NASDAQ         2415.29  2421.64  2603.23   2701.5  2859.12   5.83%  18.38%
    DJIA          12463.15 12354.35 13408.62 13895.63 13930.01   0.25%  11.77%
    Russell
     2000           787.66   800.71    833.7   805.45   828.02   2.80%   5.12%
    Amex
     Biotech        754.25   764.18   779.49   821.72   840.36   2.27%  11.42%
    Amex
     Pharma         345.06   342.01   349.75   346.44   351.31   1.41%   1.81%
    




For further information:

For further information: Peter Winter, Editorial Director of Burrill & 
Company, +1-415-591-5474 Web Site: http://www.burrillandco.com

Organization Profile

BURRILL & COMPANY

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890