In August 1997, investors fled Connetics Corp. stock after the company's Phase III trial of gamma interferon failed to show efficacy in atopic dermatitis, sending the stock down 47 percent to $5.062.

The company said at the time that the compound was not a prerequisite to its success and has continued building its portfolio of dermatology and rheumatology products - which investors can buy for modestly more, as the stock closed Friday at $6.625. And if all goes as planned, CNCT could join the ranks of profitable biotech companies by 2000.