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Gilead Sciences "Pushes Out" Amgen As Number 2 Biotech

Monday, 24 Mar 2008 | 12:40 PM ET
CNBC.com

Investors now think that a biotech company with less than one-third the revenue of Amgen is worth more than the former sector king.

Elizabeth Trotta at TheStreet.com took note of this late last week but I thought it was worth pointing out. Gilead Sciences has overtaken Amgen as the world's second most highly valued biotech. Genentech is the commanding number one with a market cap of more than $83 billion. It's a little nip and tuck between GILD and AMGN, but as I write this Amgen's market cap stands at approximately $43.5 billion and Gilead's at $45.5 billion. Amgen is still tops when it comes to revenue: $14.8 billion in 2007 versus Genentech's $11.7 billion and Gilead's $4.2 billion.

There's a lot of analyst commentary rolling out regarding the potential impact of the pending court decision on Roche launching a competitor to Amgen's anemia drugs in the U.S. AMGN shares fell about 10 percent last week to a new multi-year low on that fear. But this morning Cowen and Co. biotech analyst Eric Schmidt writes in a research note to clients, "We expect Amgen shares to recover as investors gain conviction that Amgen will continue to benefit from its intellectual property on (the anemia drugs)."

But Rodman & Renshaw's Mike King in a note to clients this morning writes that there's more than the judge's ruling is weighing on the stock. "We expect continued share pressure and are maintaining our Market Perform rating at least until the FDA renders its final decision on the Aranesp restrictions (in cancer patients)....," King says. The agency is expected to issue its ruling in around 30-45 days or so. R&R and Cowen make a market in AMGN.

Finally, I wanted to provide a couple of links to an interview I did with "The Disciplined Investor" blogger Andrew Horowitz about all things pharma and biotech. We cover Merck to Dendreon.You can check it out on the web at or on iTunes.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com

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