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Biotech Hot in July Driven by Positive Drug Data and Acquisitions
Date:8/3/2009

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Biotech was "hot" in July driven by drug data, positive drug sales/earnings and partnering and M&A deals. As a result, the Burrill Biotech Select Index posted a solid monthly gain of 6.5 percent, mirroring the Dow and Nasdaq, which closed the month up 8.6 percent and 7.8 percent respectively marking their best performance for a July in years.

Helping fuel investors' enthusiasm was Human Genome Sciences whose shares jumped a whopping 395 percent in July on news of positive results for its experimental lupus injectable drug Benlysta, confounding all analysts' expectations and potentially clearing the way for the first new treatment against the inflammatory disease for over 50 years. Patients taking Benlysta plus a standard treatment for one year had reduced symptoms - including pain, rashes and infections - compared with patients taking standard treatment plus placebo. The study involved more than 860 patients in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. Taking advantage of its strong share value, the company is planning a public offering of over $310 million.

Other major biotech movers included:

- Targacept closed out July up a whopping 338 percent on news that its drug candidate, TC-5214, significantly improved symptoms of major depressive disorder for patients who did not respond to an older drug, Forest Laboratories Inc.'s Celexa. TC-5214 was better than a placebo at improving an overall depression measurement, as well as reducing depression, irritability and severity of illness, and leading to better cognition and overall improvement.

- Orexigen Therapeutics shares jumped 54 percent in July after revealing that Contrave, a longer lasting form of two generic diet drug compounds, helped people lose weight in all three of its major clinical trials. That should clear the way for the San Diego biotech to file for approval to market the
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SOURCE Burrill & Company
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