NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 11/23/12 -- The Biotech Industry has skyrocketed in 2012 as an increase in the number of new drug approvals has boosted investor optimism within the industry. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology Index Fund (IBB) and the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) have both gained over 25 percent year-to-date. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Biotech Industry and provides equity research on Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OREX) and PDL BioPharma Inc. (NASDAQ: PDLI).
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"In 2011, the U.S. FDA approved 30 new drugs, compared to 21 in 2010," S&P Capital IQ wrote in a note. "Through September 2012, the year-to-date total was 22. We see an improving trend for FDA first cycle review approvals and a rise in the rate of new drug approvals for rare diseases, which we think is helping to boost investor sentiment for the agency, after years of criticism stemming from inconsistency in making and communicating its decisions."
Another key factor in the Biotech Industry's success has been the "patent cliff" major pharmaceuticals have faced in 2012. Major drug manufacturers have looked to biotech companies to help offset major revenue losses from expiring patents as it is less time consuming than developing new drugs through R&D.
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Orexigen Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of obesity. The Company's lead product candidate is Contrave, which has completed Phase III clinical trials and for which a New Drug Application has been submitted and reviewed by the FDA. Shares of the company surged last week after Aetna agreed to provide coverage for anti-obesity drugs.
PDL pioneered the humanization of monoclonal antibodies and, by doing so, enabled the discovery of a new generation of targeted treatments for cancer and immunologic diseases. The company has recently announced the completion of a structured financing transaction with Wellstat Diagnostics, LLC in which PDL loaned Wellstat $40 million to be used by Wellstat in its development and commercialization of small point of care diagnostic systems.
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