Back in September, which seems about a million light years away, we were optimistic that if a few of the industry's upcoming Phase III milestones were hit, it would kickstart a new wave of investor interest in the sector.

The theory was that if the companies, especially in Tier 2 and 3, proved they could run successful trials, investors would have to come back in, calculating that one or two or three hits out of any 10 investments would be more than worth their while.

Two months later, the Phase III scorecard looks like this:

• Two positive results (Biogen's beta interferon and Matrix's AccuSite).

• One probably positive outcome (Genzyme's Thyrogen), but we'll wait for the company's FDA meeting.

• Five negative results (BGEN's Hirulog, Celtrix's BetaKine, Gensia's Protara, ProCyte's Iamin and Telio's Argidene), though there's still some hope for Hirulog and BetaKine. (See The Box Score below.)

Still to come

In the Phase II column, there were seven positive outcomes (Lexipafant, CenTNF, C2B8, CDP571, Bradycor, AllerVax Cat and AccuSite) and no negatives. But of course no one pays much attention to those anymore.