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Biotech Drops on Weaker First Quarter Drug Sales, But Broader Markets Remain on a Roll
Date:5/1/2009

SAN FRANCISCO, May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- April was Wall Street's best month in nine years, which analysts believe sends the strongest signal yet that the economy is about to begin a turnaround. The Dow Jones industrial average provided an encore performance up 7.4 percent in April, on top of a 7.7 percent gain in March and the Nasdaq was up a healthy 12 percent as investors were not phased by a World Health Organization warning that a flu pandemic was imminent. The strain of flu that's causing concern appears to be a mix of flu viruses derived from pigs, birds, and humans.

"Apart from those biotech companies that are linked to combating a potential flu pandemic, such as Gilead Sciences, Novavax and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, biotech didn't fare as well as the general markets," said G. Steven Burrill, CEO, Burrill & Company, a San Francisco based global leader in life sciences with activities in Private Equity, Venture Capital, Merchant Banking and Media, "with the Burrill Biotech Select Index down three percent in April.

"The first quarter 2009 financial results from biotech's elite companies did not inspire investor confidence and confirmed that the worldwide economic crisis is taking a tougher-than-expected toll on drug sales."

Amgen reported lower-than-expected Q1 09 earnings as sales of virtually all of its key drugs fell well short of Wall Street estimates and the company lowered its 2009 revenue forecast, blaming deterioration in the global economy. The company's shares closed down two percent in April. Other companies followed suite with Genzyme's shares dipping 10 percent in April; shares of Biogen fell almost 8 percent on weaker-than-expected first-quarter sales, although its per-share earnings beat Wall Street estimates. Celgene beat lowered first-quarter earnings expectations on weak sales of its cancer drugs but blamed its first-quarter financial shortfall on weakening demand for its cancer drugs,
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SOURCE Burrill & Company
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