SOURCE: Rothman Research

Rothman Research

April 13, 2010 08:47 ET

Biotechnology -- Political and Legal Intrigues

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwire - April 13, 2010) - - Politics and legal rulings have major influences on how the biotechnology sector performs. If you consider politics, at times it can have a restrictive influence, similar to the time the Bush Administration imposed a ban on government funding for human embryo research; at other times it can have a financially adverse effect on the sector as experienced in year 2000, when the biotechnology sector, in two days, lost about $50 billion in market capitalization, following President Clinton's announcement that genome research data should be freely available to every researcher; and sometimes political decisions can seem to be positive as it has been so far, ever since the passing of the healthcare reform by the Obama administration.

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When considering legal rulings, these can sometimes have sweeping consequences on biotech companies as recently demonstrated with the gene-patent ruling involving Myriad Genetics. "The Myriad gene-patent ruling is viewed as a threat to the overall biotech industry. Some companies, like Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN), could find themselves caught in the same net," commented Jack Benassi of, "The biotech industry is a volatile market by nature, impending loss of intellectual property could make it even more risky for investors to venture into."

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The biotechnology is evolving in a time of great economic uncertainties which is pushing government worldwide to adopt policies geared at alleviating financial tensions on lower-income earners, hence, one of the reasons the healthcare law was passed even if it still contentious. In times like these, the one positive from political intervention is that many small biotech companies have high hopes of receiving federal funding to continue their research. One company which could easily fall in the category for government funding is CEL-SCI Corp. (NYSE: CVM) whose leading product Multikine® is about to start its third and final phase of clinical trials. With R&D costs on the rise, any federal subsidy would be hugely beneficial to the company. 

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