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Biotech Roundup: Index Creation, Winner!, Technobabble, Humor

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Happy Friday the 13th!

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Stories on Index Creation

We're in the final stages of creating the BSR Biotech Index™. It will be coming to a computer screen near you soon. My firm has screened over 800 companies and discovered there are about 250 we consider "development stage biotech." I'm looking forward to being able to produce a benchmark that finally suits biotech investors – as opposed to those interested in investing in biopharma and pharma companies.

The process has been a real grind, but it has had its moments. For example, did you know:

  • There is a company creating a daily-use rub-on crème for the treatment of kidney cancer. I find this exceptionally odd as it would be onerous for a patient to have to open themselves up to rub a crème on their kidneys every day.

  • Chemed (CHE) offers hospice care services and… Roto-Rooter. The mind simply whirls with the punny potential in that pairing.

  • Many services classify funeral home companies as "healthcare." If that's true, are casket makers medical device manufacturers in disguise?


And speaking of medical devices, what a wild and slightly disturbing ride it is to visit their web sites. I often had to resist describing their product offerings as "Devices – Medieval Torture"

Winner! (So Far)

The Anormed (ANOR) bidding war seems to have been won by Genzyme (GENZ), but Millenium Pharma (MLNM) gets the right of last bid. Analysis is that Genzyme smartly bid just enough to force Millennium to go to a cash and stock offer to beat their bid. Given the loose purses of the bond market, though, I expect that Millennium could come up with the cash if it wanted to.

Bidding wars are fun when you own the target, but I'm hoping I never have to be an owner of one of the bidders. Acquisitions so rarely work out as planned anyway, and overlaying that with a bidding process that drives the price to exorbitant levels just makes it all that much worse.

Technobabble

The founder of Novell (NOVL) died this week. For geeks of a certain age, Novell was the company that introduced peer-to-peer networking to the masses, forever altering the way we work. I was never a fan of their networking technology (too much constant babysitting) as I was a LANtastic fan, but his passing still deserves some mention and a thank you.

Microsoft's (MSFT) Vista will ship soon. My firm is pushing up our planned hardware purchases to avoid the release, preferring to stick with the devil we know (XP). I wonder how many others are thinking of doing the same.

I installed Netgear's (NTGR) SC-101 attached storage unit last weekend on the office network. It's a toaster-looking gizmo that you slap a couple of hard drives in for network-accessible storage. We use it as a backup for everyone's important files. All went well until I realized the core client software necessary for each machine to communicate to the toaster (a) prevents USB ports from working properly, and (b) Prevents XP from shutting down properly. If any Netgear folks are listening, please check out ticket # 3888430.

Friday Humor

I really tried to cleverly work this and this into the commentary. I failed, but that's no reason for you to miss out on the fun.

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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