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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Biotech, Finally

I found a good post about biotechnology in BusinessWeek Online. It broughts out the the general tendency of the sector. If you don't have time to read the full article, I suggest to go for "Diagnostics" section, this was the most interesting for me. Better diagnosis and personilized drugs is definitely the key. That's one reason, why I have written about NeuroMetrix (NURO) recently, their devices let doctors to diagnose faster and cheaper. Good and precise diagnosis becomes more and more important.

Biotech, Finally
BusinessWeek
By Catherine Arnst, Arlene Weintraub, John Carey, Kerry Capell, Michael Arndt
June 13, 2005

Even long-beleaguered biotech investors have reason to be optimistic. True, biotechnology indexes have underperformed the overall market for much of the past year, and few of the 1,500 companies in this sector are profitable. But the medicines are selling. Ernst & Young International estimates that nine new biotech drugs approved in 2004 will bring in total revenues of $3 billion this year. By 2007, sales of just those products should grow to $8 billion. "I would say the industry as a group will become profitable by 2008," says Dr. Mark Monane, director of biotech research at investment advisers Needham & Co.

Response rates for cancer drugs, for example, often are stuck at 20%. Tired of such poor performance, pharmaceutical companies are focusing more effort on developing the diagnostic tests that would match a treatment to a patient's genetic profile, reducing side effects and increasing efficacy. "I think you are going to see a revolution in personalized medicine in just a few years," predicts Dr. George Demitri of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

The biggest problem with most major drugs today is that they don't work in anywhere from 25% to 60% of patients. Biotech is starting to improve that ratio.

"In the past, medicine has been reactionary. We wait for people to get sick, then we treat the disease," says Peter D. Meldrum, CEO of Myriad Genetics Inc. (MYGN ). "The majority of drugs on the market treat only symptoms, not causes."
Read further:
BusinessWeek: Biotech, Finally

See also:
Analysis: NeuroMetrix Inc (NURO)

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