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Biotech Avoids Fall Out From Tough Quarter for Capital Markets
Date:4/1/2008

SAN FRANCISCO, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- The biotech industry came through a very turbulent first quarter relatively unscathed with the Burrill Biotech Select Index, a price-weighted index tracking 20 of biotech's "blue chip" companies, finishing unchanged compared to the Dow, which closed down 7.5% and the Nasdaq, whose value dropped 14%.

"Despite a sea of red numbers for our other indices, the Burrill Biotech Select Index recorded a credible gain of close to 4% in the month of March," said G. Steven Burrill, CEO, Burrill & Company, a San Francisco based global leader in life sciences with activities in Venture Capital, Private Equity, Merchant Banking and Media. "This gain was in spite of the fact that the quarter was a bad one any way you sliced it. Investors have been shell shocked in the wake of not only surging oil prices (the declining dollar) and the housing slump but also near chaos in the financial markets with Wall Street almost imploding in the wake of a massive global liquidity crisis.

"While 'blue chip' companies such as Genentech and Gilead Sciences have so far weathered the market downturn, emerging companies have been less fortunate since they are perceived by investors as more risky," noted Burrill. "For example, the Burrill Mid Cap Biotech Index dropped over 23% in Q1 '08. This is why companies with broader-based product portfolios are able to ride out uncertain markets. Interestingly enough, investors have been choosing biotech's elite companies over big Pharma companies. This is reflected in the fact that the Amex Pharmaceutical Index closed the quarter down 12% at 295.23, its lowest total since October 2004."

Biotech IPOs on hold

The prevailing tough economic environment also took its toll on biotech IPO "hopefuls" with Biolex, Light Sciences Oncology and Archemix cancelling their planned offerings because of the market conditions. Only one company braved the market -- Bioheart, a biotechnology company foc
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SOURCE Burrill & Company
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