Dedicated biotech funds, while the bedrock of the industry, have never had the sheer mass to drive bull markets for biotech. That role has always fallen to the aggressive growth funds - the momentum players - and other non-core investors who tend to pile into the sector when they see the group or stocks within it starting to trend up, and when they see better opportunities than in other market sectors.

The biotech group posted its best performance of the year in the fourth quarter - with the upturn actually starting at the beginning of September. The BioCentury 100 index closed the year at 1066.08, up 31.3 percent on the quarter and up 54.1 percent from Sept. 4. But the gain for the year was 11.8 percent, the smallest of the leading indicators tracked by BioCentury (see