Navigation Links
January Market Jitters Fails to Derail Biotech

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Fears that the economy is not only heading towards a recession but is also rapidly weakening had investors in a skittish mood during January. However, biotech held steady with the Burrill Biotech Select Index closing unchanged well ahead of the NASDAQ, which posted a January loss of 9.9%, and the Dow, which closed down 4.6%.

"Healthcare is usually able to ride out extremely volatile capital markets with less damage because they are viewed as 'safe' stocks in recession periods," said G. Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Company a San Francisco based global leader in life sciences whose principal activities are in Private Equity, Venture Capital, Merchant Banking and Media, "and biotech, on a relative basis, performed well in January." Helping the cause was the buzz created around the JPMorgan's 26th Annual Healthcare Conference, which continues to set records for attendance during the four day San Francisco-based event. Many of the 300-plus companies, which presented at the event were reporting updated clinical and year end results ... and the mood was quite optimistic.

Most notable was Pharmasset, whose shares surged to close the month up 87%. Early in January the company announced positive data from a short-term Phase I study on its hepatitis C candidate, R7128. The four-week trial assessed two doses of Pharmasset's R7128 in combination with the standard of care, Pegasys plus Copegus, in 50 chronically infected patients who hadn't received prior treatment. Pharmasset said 85% of patients given the higher dose, 1,500 milligrams, and 30% at the lower 500 milligram dose had undetectable levels of the virus after four weeks. In comparison, only 10% of patients on the placebo, which was standard of care alone, achieved undetectable levels of the virus.

Pharmasset was the only bright spot amongst a sea of decliners in the Burrill Mid-Cap Biotech Index group as shares of these companies got dragged down with the economic woes. The Index closed the month down 11%.

"Investors also seemed to be satisfied with biotech fourth-quarter results, noted Burrill, "although they weren't over-generous in their rewards but they certainly were quick to penalize any companies falling short of expectations." Amgen, for example, hit its projected numbers, but its 2008 outlook fell well below forecasts as sales of anemia drug Aranesp continue to slow in the wake of stricter safety warnings and reimbursement rates. Amgen's shares closed the month unchanged. Genentech reported solid quarterly results, and its shares jumped 5% in January.

On the other side of the coin, shares of Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. took a major hit, dropping 20% in January on the news of a wider fourth-quarter loss. Human Genome Sciences shares lost almost half its value (47%) on the news that the company had scaled back dosing of its experimental hepatitis drug, citing potential health risks. Patients in the final phase of testing of Albuferon will now receive 900 microgram doses of the drug, instead of 1,200 micrograms. Human Genome Sciences is developing its Albuferon with Novartis for the treatment of Hepatitis C. The company believes the drug is as effective as Roche Holdings' Hepatitis C treatment, Pegasys, and would require half as many monthly injections. The company said it continues to expect to

have all phase III data available to support the filing of global marketing authorization applications by fall 2009.

Biotech IPOs on hold

The tough economic environment kept biotech IPO "hopefuls" grounded on the runway in January and only one company -- Phenomix, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel small-molecule product candidates for treatment of Type 2 diabetes and hepatitis C, filed with the SEC for an IPO.

"We will see biotech IPOs continuing to getting done," noted Burrill, "although valuations will still be problematic and timing challenging. Most of those on file will await better market conditions before beginning their road shows. We certainly expect over 30 IPOs will be completed in the US in 2008 (about the same as 2007), but most will get done in the second half of the year."

Biotech Indices

% change % change

Index 12/29/06 12/31/07 1/31/08 Month Year

Burrill Biotech Select 303.96 331.52 331.31 -0.06 % -0.06 %

Burrill Large Cap Biotech 424.56 437.71 438.87 0.27 % 0.27 %

Burrill Mid-Cap Biotech 171.55 201.89 179.33 -11.17 % -11.17 %

Burrill Small Cap Biotech 143.6 137.6 148.3 7.78 % 7.78 %

Burrill Genomics 101.69 104.29 93.64 -10.21 % -10.21 %

Burrill AgBio 124.52 198.83 193.82 -2.52 % -2.52 %

Burrill Industrial 150.85 158.66 146.41 -7.72 % -7.72 %

Burrill Diagnostic 122.79 159.43 151.53 -4.96 % -4.96 %

Burrill Nutraceutical 629.56 593.04 556.24 -6.21 % -6.21 %

NASDAQ 2415.29 2652.28 2389.86 -9.89 % -9.89 %

DJIA 12463.15 13264.82 12650.36 -4.63 % -4.63 %

Russell 2000 787.66 766.03 713.3 -6.88 % -6.88 %

Amex Biotech 754.25 786.5 749.38 -4.72 % -4.72 %

Amex Pharma 345.06 338.52 316.45 -6.52 % -6.52 %

About Burrill & Company

Founded in 1994, Burrill & Company is a San Francisco-based global leader in life sciences with activities in Private Equity, Venture Capital, Merchant Banking and Media. The Burrill family of venture capital funds has over $950 million under management and its merchant banking business is one of the industry leaders in life sciences transactions. The company's 60 person scientific and business team, supported by its 40-person Advisory Boards, the strategic and financial network of its limited partners, and the close relationships developed with numerous life sciences companies and management, provide Burrill with unparalleled access and insight.

Burrill is the creator, sponsor and facilitator of over a dozen leading industry conferences worldwide and publishes a wide range of bio-intelligence reports including: The Personalized Medicine Report, The Stem Cell Report, and periodic newsletters covering Canada, China, Europe, India, Japan and Partnering/M&A. In association with the California Healthcare Institute, Burrill publishes The Journal of Life Sciences - a bimonthly magazine. Burrill's flagship publication is its annual "State of the Industry" report, the most recent 21st Edition being Biotech 2007: Life Sciences - A Global Transformation. The 22nd Edition is entitled Biotech 2008: Life Sciences - A 20/20 Vision to 2020, available 1Q '08. These publications provide the latest insight, intelligence and information on the life sciences industry.

SOURCE Burrill & Company
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related biology technology :

1. Correction to Press Release Dated January 31, 2008: Inverness Medical Innovations to Participate at 2008 Merrill Lynch Global Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Medical Device Conference on February 5, 2008
2. Abaxis to Report Third Quarter Fiscal 2008 Financial Results Thursday, January 31, 2008
3. Exelixis Announces January 31 Webcast of Presentation at the 2008 Wachovia Healthcare Conference
4. Hologic, Inc. to Release First Quarter Fiscal 2008 Operating Results Thursday, January 31st Before Market Opens
5. Bristol-Myers Squibb to Announce Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year of 2007 on January 31
6. ARCA Discovery, Inc. to Present at 26th Annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference on January 8, 2008
7. Exelixis Announces January 10 Webcast of Presentation at the 26th Annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference
8. Inverness Medical Innovations to Participate at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference on January 8, 2008
9. LifeCell Corporation Schedules 2008 Financial Guidance Release and Conference Call; January 7, 2008 at 10:00 A.M. Eastern
10. BioForm Medical to Present at the 2008 JPMorgan Healthcare Conference on January 7, 2008
11. Stryker to Host Conference Call on January 23, 2008
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Northwest Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: ... DCVax® personalized immune therapies for solid tumor cancers, announced ... additional independent director, and the Company welcomes Neil ... in a recent anonymous internet report on NW Bio.  ... Linda Powers stated, "We agree with ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , Nov. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/--  Mallinckrodt plc ... announced today that it has closed the sale of ... to Guerbet (GBT- NYSE Euronext) in a transaction valued ... four manufacturing facilities and a total of approximately 1,000 ... the St. Louis area. This ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... CHESHAM , England , November 26, ... Lightpoint Medical, an innovative medical device company specializing in ... Euro grant from the European Commission as part of the ... enabling the company to carry out a large-scale clinical trial ... -->      (Logo: , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Studies reveal the differences in species of ... way for more effective treatment for one of the most ... --> --> Gum disease is ... yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria associated with ... by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition together ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/11/2015)... MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology company that ... announce that it will be a Sponsor of the ... held November 17-19 in Hamburg , Germany.  ... iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and affordable eClinical ... able to deliver time and cost savings of up to ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... 09, 2015 ... the "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market ... --> ) has announced the ... Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to their ... ( ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International ... million to provide preclinical development services to the National ... contract, SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and ... variety of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):