After its big bet on an osteoporosis candidate failed in 2006, NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc. slimmed down and refocused on developing its pipeline for Orphan diseases. The strategy looks to be paying off after last month's European approval of Gattex teduglutide for short bowel syndrome and last week's positive vote on the drug by FDA's Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee.

Founded in 1986, NPS cut its teeth discovering molecules for partners, but jumped at the chance to bring in a pair of Phase II products by merging with another small biotech, Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc., in 1999.