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Biotech Survives Market Turbulence in November
Date:12/3/2007

he most promising biotech drugs will be intense.

"Among the glut of transactions during November was Glaxo's acquisition of privately-held Reliant Pharmaceuticals for $1.65 billion and Pfizer's acquisition of Coley Pharmaceuticals for $164 million. Reliant was planning $400 million initial public offering and its decision to be acquired provided a major premium for the company's investors.

"The environment for M&A is bullish right now... so much so that biotech's are planting 'for sale' signs on their lots," Burrill explained. "Following Biogen Idec, which put itself up for sale last month, Vancouver-based QLT said it was seeking potential buyers for some or all of its assets and MGI Pharma announced that it was looking at its options including a buyer."

Biotech IPOs

The uncertain capital markets weighed on biotech companies hoping to move off the IPO runway. In November only ARYx Therapeutics, which re-engineers commercially successful drugs to eliminate safety issues, priced a 5 million share offering at $10 -- significantly lower than its original $14 to $16 range.

Two other companies added themselves to the runway: Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. that is focused on development of small-molecule therapeutics to treat cardiovascular and metabolic disease; and ChemoCentryx, which is developing therapeutics targeting chemokine receptors to prevent autoimmune disorders and certain cancers.

Biotech Indices

"With one month to go the Burrill Biotech Select Index is up 16.6% year- to-date, well ahead of the Dow and Nasdaq. This is an excellent return considering the ongoing uncertainties in the general markets," said Burrill.

Major movers in the Biotech Select Index in November were Neurocrine Biosciences (up 41%) and Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. (up 25%). At one point shares of Millennium hit a new annual high amid a sharp rise in revenues for their cancer drug Velcade and upcoming Phase III trial data in multipl
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SOURCE Burrill & Company
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