Amgen down more than five bucks, nearly 10 percent. Gilead Sciences off about $2.50 or five percent. Biogen Idec drops nearly three dollars, more than five percent. Genzyme falls $4.44 or about six-and-a-half percent. Celgene skids $2.62 or five percent. Okay, I think I've exhausted every word in the thesaurus, but you get the picture. Today was really ugly for biotech. The only large-cap sector stock to trade higher--and significantly--was Genentech because it's being bolstered by Roche's bond sale and increasing speculation the Swiss drugmaker is gonna have to raise its bid for DNA. The shares have now closed well above the $86.50 offer on the table.
Big pharma took a hit, too. The dollar losses weren't as great, but the percentage declines were comparable in some cases. Pfizer closed at another new, multi-year low of $12.70.
It's all apparently due to the sudden market realization that President Obama is putting our money where his mouth is in his budget. He wants cheaper prescription drugs and to create a roadmap for less expensive, generic versions of pricey biotech drugs. It's a hot topic I touched on earlier this week in my interviews at the Generic Pharmaceutical Association meeting. You can still find those chats in the right column of this page.
Genentech CEO Art Levinson has always had some choice words in defense of drug pricing in his past presentations at the company's analyst/investor meeting. DNA moved up the date of the annual get-together to this coming Monday. But because Levinson hasn't done TV interviews I've been relegated to quoting him. I'm hoping this time he breaks with tradition and decides to talk on-camera given the escalating battle with Roche and the more aggressive media strategy his unwelcome proposed acquiror has been taking.
Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com