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Biotech Begins Year on a Quiet, but Optimistic Note

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The biotech industry opened the New Year quietly with the Burrill Biotech Select Index up marginally for January at 0.3 percent. Meanwhile, the capital markets recorded their strongest January in years. The Dow Jones Industrial average closed the month with a 2.7 percent gain and the Nasdaq Composite index closed up 1.8 percent.

"Although not yet reflected in biotech's performance on the capital markets, the mood at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco early January was upbeat reflecting the fact that many biotech and pharma CEOs believe that 2011 will be a good one for them," said G. Steven Burrill, CEO, Burrill & Company, a diversified global financial services firm focused on the life sciences industry.

"I believe we will see an increase in M&A activity in biotech land as companies position themselves for growth this year. It was clear that pharma executives were checking out promising companies to bolster their product pipelines...and several large biotechs, sitting on plenty of cash, made their intentions known that they are looking to acquire assets. Amgen, for example, pulled the trigger on a $1 billion deal late January to acquire BioVex, the creator of a late-stage cancer vaccine that has shown encouraging results in treating solid tumors," noted Burrill.

"We will also see in the next couple of weeks a final resolution to Sanofi Aventis' bid to acquire Genzyme," commented Burrill. "In addition, at the J.P. Morgan event several big pharma companies re-emphasized the growing importance of emerging markets to strengthen their bottom line," added Burrill. "It has been well documented that the global pharmaceutical market is poised to grow by as much as 7 percent this year and emerging markets will be a big part of that growth as more government spending and broader access to health care in developing economies drive demand."

The Burrill Personalized Index climbed almost 3 percent in January. "As we describe in our upcoming 25th anniversary issue of our annual report Biotech 2011, this sector will be hot," commented Burrill. "There is no doubt that we are moving to a world that embraces not only the possibility of using a person's genetic information to identify their risks for disease but also individualized strategies for prevention or treatment and companies in the healthcare sector are positioning themselves for this trend. As a result, we are seeing plenty of deals as companies orient their R&D strategies in the personalized medicine space."

Market Cap

According to the January issue of the Burrill Report, ( the biotech industry's collective market cap was $378 billion, up 1.5 percent for the month.

SOURCE Burrill & Company
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