NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 13, 2013) - A sharp increase in drug approvals and mergers and acquisitions combined to create a bull market for the Biotechnology Industry in 2012. The iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB), the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) and the First Trust Amex Biotechnology Index ETF (FBT) have all gained over 20 percent in the past year, outperforming the broader markets by a good margin. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Biotech Industry and provides equity research on ArQule, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARQL) and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: BCRX).
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Bloomberg recently reported drug approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reached a 15 year high in 2012. The FDA approved a total of 39 novel medicines last year, an increase of 30 percent when compared to a year ago. Oncology drugs lead the way with 11 new drugs approved last year. Over the last ten years the number of FDA approvals had averaged roughly 23 a year. The passage of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) played a major role in the sharp increase in approvals.
The PDUFA "has provided critical resources for improving the quality and timeliness of premarket review of drugs," said FDA spokeswoman, Sandy Walsh. "These accomplishments could not have been achieved without the innovations of the biopharmaceutical industry and the dedication and skill of FDA's drug review staff."
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ArQule's targeted, broad-spectrum products and research programs are focused on key biological processes that are central to human cancers. ArQule's lead product, in Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical development, is tivantinib (ARQ 197), an oral, selective inhibitor of the c-MET receptor tyrosine kinase. Daiichi Sankyo and ArQule have recently enrolled the first patient in the pivotal Phase 3 METIV-HCC trial of tivantinib.
BioCryst Pharmaceuticals designs, optimizes and develops novel small molecule drugs that block key enzymes involved in infectious and inflammatory diseases, with the goal of addressing unmet medical needs of patients and physicians. BioCryst currently has two late-stage development programs: peramivir and ulodesine. The company is scheduled to release results for the fourth quarter on Tuesday, February 19th.
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