Midwest biotech stocks drop like a rock during the third quarter

Midwest biotech stocks drop like a rock during the third quarter

As I’m writing this column, I was reminded by an article in the Chicago Tribune that Oct. 9 was John Lennon’s birthday.
As he was born on Oct. 9, 1940, he would have been 65 years old if he was still alive. He was shot outside his apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980. He was 40 years old. The article gave a fascinating perspective on probably the most interesting of the famed Beatles (I’m sure this statement is going to provoke some comment but I’m letting the chips fly).
We all have our perspective on and memories of the Beatles. When they first arrived in the U.S. and made their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show on a Sunday night in February 1964, my father (the talent agent) was actually backstage at the Ed Sullivan theatre taking pictures with his tiny Minox camera.
Though none of the pictures were particularly good, just the fact that he was there at this historical occasion was amazing. It made me feel as if I shared in this piece of history. According to estimates, 73 million people saw the debut that night. These five songs played: “All My Loving,” “‘Till There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.
The Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan Show an additional eight times after that. A year or so later, I became more immersed in Beatlemania as my father took us to live briefly in London between Knightsbridge and South Kensington.
Beatlemania was in full swing with the black leather high-heeled boots (for men), collarless black leather jackets and Lennon’s black leather cap. As I turned 13 in London in 1965, my brothers and I went to see the newly released movie “Help”. Shortly after that, we returned to the U.S. carrying with us all the Beatles clothing and accents.
While all the Beatles were talented (except Ringo), Lennon was the poet, the writer, the innovator, the loner, the revolutionary and the leader.
Lennon’s marriage to second wife Yoko Ono on March 20, 1969 followed by the famous “Bed-In For Peace” protest at the Amsterdam Hilton was the beginning of the end of the Beatles (they broke up in 1970) and Lennon’s personal emancipation. Lennon’s “Working Class Hero” and “Imagine” songs marked this new direction.
Much has been said about John Lennon. I won’t pretend to try and cover it in this edition. Still, it’s hard to believe that 25 years has passed since his premature death.
Midwest Biotech Stocks Dropping Like a Rock
Last week’s column focused on the performance of the Midwest large cap life sciences and the overall stock market for the first three quarters of 2005.
Results for this period showed a recovery of the major indices during the third quarter from a weak yearly performance. We also saw a surprisingly strong performance in many large cap life science companies (with the exception of our Big Pharma companies). The overall biotech indices showed the sector to be on the mend. The chart below shows a recap of the major indices.

For this week, I promised you we would look at the smaller cap Midwest biotech publicly traded companies to gauge the sector performance.

New additions to our list include Advanced Life Sciences, Atricure, eV3 (all three of which went public this year), Meridian Biosciences, Akorn (which was restructured and relisted), Avax Technologies (which has been recently resuscitated) and Tripos (a new listing). Deletions include Bone Care International due to its acquisition by Genzyme.

This year has not been kind to our Midwest biotech stocks. Though we now have a larger group of publicly traded Midwest biotech companies (due in part to three IPOs), only about 25 percent of the companies have outperformed the Nasdaq Biotech Index in 2005 and only five companies have outperformed the Amex Biotech Index.

The bloodbath continues for our Midwest biotech sector. It hurts to look at the above chart. While I wish I could say the stock drop was related to our smallest cap companies, it was across the board affecting even our larger cap biotech companies like MGI Pharma and KV Pharmaceuticals.
The one piece of good news in 2005 is that there have been three Midwest IPOs and the resuscitation of several companies that have been moribund and are now showing signs of life. See you next week!

Disclaimer: This column is not a communication
to provide incentive to purchase or sell securities.

Michael S. Rosen is president of Rosen Bioscience Management, a company that provides CEO services including financing, business and corporate development to start-up and early stage life science companies such as Renovar and Immune Cell Therapy. Rosen is also a founder and board member of the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization. He can be reached at rosenmichaels@aol.com.
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