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4Q Financial Markets Preview: Wanted: Catalysts for generalists

4Q12 stocks: Buysiders focus on big names with picks for biotech milestone plays

On the back of a strong multi-quarter run for biotech, buysiders hope a handful of important catalysts from some of the industry's biggest names will continue to attract generalist interest. A steady flow of news from mid-caps, including launches for prostate cancer, obesity and irritable bowel syndrome drugs, also could draw in generalists.

Big cap biotechs with milestones this quarter include Biogen Idec Inc., Celgene Corp. and Gilead Sciences Inc.

Biogen Idec is a name that crops up on many watch lists going into 4Q12 based on important clinical readouts and an FDA decision.

Approval of BG-12 for multiple sclerosis (MS) could come by year end, based on a February submission and a standard 10-month review at FDA. The oral dimethyl fumarate that activates the nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like (NFE2L2; NRF2) pathway also is under review in Europe.

"That is the really big one for me," said HBM Partners' Ivo Staijen. He thinks BG-12 will compete well with the two approved oral MS drugs, Novartis AG's Gilenya fingolimod and Sanofi's Aubagio teriflunomide (see "Adagio for Aubagio," A26).

Biogen is slated to report Phase III data this quarter for rFVIIIFc, a long-acting recombinant Factor VIII product to treat hemophilia A, and dexpramipexole, a small modulator of mitochondrial bioenergetics to treat amyotrophic lateral

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