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The Summer of Biotech

Pharma Stocks
CNBC.com
Pharma Stocks

Everyone’s talking about the July stock market rally. And, of course, you can’t overlook the outperformance of biotech—big and small.

Amgen up 18 percent. Celgene up 20 percent. Human Genome Sciences up 400 percent. Onyx Pharmaceuticals up 28 percent. Orexigen up 60 percent. Even the embattled Amylin Pharmaceuticals up 10 percent. And that’s just a handful. Sure, not every stock went along for the ride, but it’s been a pretty good month for a lot of companies driven by drug data, drug sales/earnings and deals.

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EME
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FNGN
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ONXX
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OREX
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And Bernstein analyst Geoffrey Porges put out a big research note saying it ain’t over yet. It’s titled, “Biotech: Take Outs and Break Outs—Setting Up for a Big Biotech Rally, Plenty of Upside Still to Come.”

In large part due to HGSI’s ginormous gains, the Biotech Index jumped 25 percent in July. But the much larger Nasdaq Biotech Index climbed only eight-and-a-half percent. “We see this index (the NBI) having significant further upside potential,” Porges writes.

On top of all the drug data that came out in July (not all of it good), this weekend OSI Pharmaceuticals unveils the details on how much longer a certain population of lung cancer patients lived on its pill Tarceva. In a couple of weeks, Amgen has a date with an FDA panel on its key late-stage, experimental osteoporosis drug known as D-mab. “Recently there has been a wave of positive data and newsflow in the sector which is likely to continue through the balance of 2009 and 2010,” Porges is telling clients.

Usually, after the second quarter earnings season things quiet down a bit. Biopharma folks go on summer vacation. It’s a welcome breather. But if Porges, and others, are right we could be in for a hot August.

P.S. Please tune in, or check back here at CNBC.com for the replay, for my first-ever interview with Johnson and Johnson Chairman and CEO Bill Weldon this coming Monday at 2 p.m. ET on “Street Signs” with Erin Burnett. I’ve been trying to get a sit-down with him for years. Looks like it’s finally gonna happen.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com and follow me on Twitter at mhuckman