Mapping the plunge

Mapping the plunge

Political uncertainty over the course of health care loomed large in the first quarter and will continue to do so, but biotech industry insiders place the lion's share of the blame for the sector's poor performance on the internal issues of product development and earnings growth.

The year-long string of product failures has grown to impressive proportions. The recommendation by an FDA advisory committee for approval of Chiron Corp.'s Betaseron and the likelihood of a positive recommendation for Genentech Inc.'s Pulmozyme may reverse the trend. But the spurt of good news has done little so far to assuage dismayed investors. On top of the quarter's product disappointments came worries

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