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biotechs set cracking pace

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    Biotechs set cracking pace
    By Gabrielle Costa
    August 19, 2003

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    The biotechnology sector put in its best quarter for the more than a year at the end of 2002-03, with investors responding quickly to company announcements - many of them containing good news.

    An analysis by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that biotech stocks rose 34.3 per cent in the June quarter, following on from strong increases in foreign biotech companies.

    That was the best performance in the past five quarters and compared favourably with an 8.6 per cent rise in the All Ordinaries index.

    In the same period, an index of medical device companies rose 7.4 per cent and drug companies rose 3.8 per cent.

    "Over the last two quarters there has been a string of good announcements from US and Australian life science companies, including strong clinical trial results, product approvals, technology validation, the formation of valuable partnerships and strong profit results," wrote report author Lisa Springer.

    Biotechs continued to be valued at low levels, making capital raising difficult and expensive, Dr Springer wrote.



    However, investors were buying up biotech stocks quickly in light of company announcements and news that related to the industry as a whole.

    Despite positive news, the sector's total value was $11.3 billion at the end of 2002-03, down 15 per cent on the end of calendar 2002, when it was $13.3 billion.
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