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The Best of Biotech

02/06/2004 12:00 am EST


John McCamant

Editor, Medical Technology Stock Letter

The Medical Technology Stock Letter is an exceptional newsletter. In each issue, editor John McCamant reviews a specific topic, such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, etc., and somehow makes these highly complex topics - and their long-term investment implications - easily understood. In his 2004 forecast issue, he updates some of the stocks in his aggressive portfolio (which was up a remarkable 213% last year):

"BioCryst (US:BCRX NASDAQ) will be working hard in 2004 to build value, which should help attract the attention of Wall Street. Its lead drug candidate and Phase II trials for both T-cell leukemia and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma should begin in early March. Its second drug candidate, BCX-3607 will begin Phase I testing for unstable angina mid-year and could also be tested in metastatic prostate cancer.

"Genentech (DNA NYSE) had a stellar 2003, with strong sales for Rituxan, Herceptin, and the newly-launched Xolair. For 2004, analysts are predicting 25% profit growth. If they do meet that goal, it will be because of Avastin, which is expected to be approved for treating colorectal cancer by the FDA's March deadline. With several promising new drugs just launched, a blockbuster waiting to enter the game, and some interesting wildcards on the bench, DNA is still positioned for strong growth.

"Incyte (INCY NASDAQ) has been on a tear as investors are finally believing in the company's transformation from a genomics-based company to a no-nonsense drug developer. We believe that the primary driver in 2004 will be Reverset. The company is aggressively looking to in-license additional HIV drug candidates to leverage their significant in-house HIV expertise.

"NPS Pharmaceuticals (NPSP NASDAQ) is anticipating their first ever product approval this year, and 2004 could prove to be the company's most significant year since its inception. Cinacalcet, for the treatment of hyperparathyroidism, was given priority review status by the FDA in September. Within the robust pipeline are reports from Phase III TOP trial for PREOS for osteoporosis later this quarter. We look forward to another exciting year from the company.

"Onyx (ONYX NASDAQ) is poised for a big year in 2004 after an excellent 2003. The company's lead cancer drug candidate, BAY-43-9006, will be the driver of the company's valuation this year. We think this drug candidate is the most attractive orally-available cancer drug in development. We believe the drug has blockbuster potential. The company's partner, Bayer, must also believe this as they want to significantly expand the clinical development for the drug candidate in 2004. We expect the company to attract significant attention from Wall Street this year."

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