Ebb & Flow
The doomsday mood in European biotech is lifting. Since the market bottom in March, BioCentury's European and London indices now are tracking the upswing in U.S. biotech stocks.
The BioCentury 100 Index, which consists primarily of U.S. companies, bottomed on March 7, followed on March 14 by the BioCentury Europe index and on March 28 by the London-listed group. Indeed, the European index has jumped 51.5%, while the BioCentury London index has regained 34.3%. By comparison, the BioCentury 100 now is up 48.3% (see "European Stocks on the Up").
In the bellwether group, biopharmaceutical play Serono (SWX:SEO; SRA) has gained 39%. SEO closed at CHF834 and a market cap of CHF13.4 billion ($10.2 billion). Cardiovascular company Actelion (SWX:ATLN) has jumped 48% to close Friday at CHF92.25 and a market cap of CHF1.4 billion ($1 billion). Supply company Qiagen (FSE:QIA; QGENF) is up 49% on the period, with Friday's close of E8.10 valuing it at E1.1 billion ($1.3 billion).
Among the top tier, women's health play Galen (LSE:GAL) has added 66% since the beginning of March to close Friday at 570p and a market cap of £1.1 billion ($1.8 billion), But overall, the Tier I group has been held back by Celltech (LSE:CCH; CLL), which has gained only 10% since March due to investor uncertainties about its proposed acquisition of Oxford GlycoSciences (LSE:OGS; OGSI). CCH closed last week at 350p and a market cap of £971 million ($1.6 billion).
European Tier II companies also have begun to pull away, with vaccine company Acambis (LSE:ACM; ACAM) leading the pack with a 77% jump since March. ACM closed Friday at 351.5p and a market cap of £365 million ($607 million).
Tier III companies also made impressive gains in the last two and a half months. Evotec(FSE:EVT) has jumped 141%. The drug discovery services play closed Friday at E3.63 and a market cap of E129 million ($151 million). In the U.K., obesity company Phytopharm (LSE:PYM) has added 313% and closed Friday at 286p and a market cap of £110 million ($183 million).
In London, the view from two global fund managers is upbeat, as the gains have been on fundamentals. "The encouraging aspect of the rise is