Beach Blanket Biotech

The things you can learn on a conference call.

This morning the apparently Red Bull-fueled (or maybe he's a Starbucks triple-shot guy) biotech analyst at Deutsche Bank, Dr. Mark Schoenebaum, did a deep dive for clients in a presentation he called, "Getting ready for summer!"

It had nothing to do with the latest crash diet, ab crunch craze, spray tanning or bikini waxing. He and his team put together a 69-page slidedeck to walk folks through what's happened in the sector so far this year and what they should be watching out for the rest of the year.

Clients and reporters are invited to listen in, but only the clients get in the queue to ask questions over the phone or email them straight to the speaker.

Well, I was surprised to learn on the call that Schoenebaum had ever-so-briefly entered the blogosphere. He said he took it down in less than an hour because, as he put it, "We got too many whack-job comments." Mark, we should compare emails someday. No offense to any "Pharma's Market" readers, of course.

But he also unveiled the results of a recent survey he did of buy-side clients. He asked them a bunch of questions including which company they think will beat, meet or miss second quarter financial expectations, which clinical trials will hit their mark, etc. But he also threw in this question just for kicks: "Do you cry yourself to sleep each night because you miss Genentech?" 58 percent said "Yes" and 42 percent said "No."

As this slide from Schoenebaum's deck shows, he is apparently in the majority. "It's (Genentech) gone and that's very upsetting," he said when the slide came up.

Source: Deutsche Bank

I don't lose sleep over Genentech, but I do miss covering the company. I think the recent failure of Avastin to work as an early-use drug on colon cancer took a lot of the star power out of the ASCO conference last week. And Roche's purchase of Genentech robbed the meeting of its traditional tradable mojo.

Sure, Roche/Genentech presented more than 500 of the 4,000 studies featured at ASCO, way more than any other company, but even the Zurich exchange, where Roche is listed, happened to be closed for a holiday or something on the Monday after most of the ASCO data were released.

Schoenebaum wanted to close the call with a song paying tribute to Genentech, but the gremlins got in the way and the music wouldn't play. And he hung up without naming the tune. Maybe a yodeling version of Taps?

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