Stocks Surge in June Quarter
Monday June 30 2003 6.00PM AET
"Australian biotech stocks surged ahead
in the June quarter with the share prices of 43 companies increasing
by more than 20 per cent," said Mr Mark Pachacz co-editor
of Bioshares, Australia's independent biotech stock report.
"This has been the best quarter for Australian
biotech stocks in over 2 years and there is a good chance the
gains will hold up in the next two quarters" he said.
"The Bioshares Drug Discovery Index increased
by 26 per cent in the June quarter and this compared well with
this Nasdaq Biotech Index which posted a 32 per cent gain to a
June 28 close" he said.
"Australia's listed drug discovery and
development companies, pharmaceutical firms and biomedical product
companies should benefit from renewed optimism for biotech stocks
in the US. A key factor driving this trend is the efforts of the
new FDA commissioner Mark McClellan to speed reforms in the world's
most important drug approval agency" said Mr Pachacz.
The big gainers for the quarter included medical
device company Eastland Medical Systems (+156%), anti-microbial
developer Chemeq (+120%), non-coding DNA company Genetic technologies
(+111%) and spray-on skin technology company Clinical Cell Culture
Another noteworthy gainer was gene silencing
technology company Benitec (+79%), which attracted attention at
the recent international biotech business conference, Bio 2003
held in Washington last week.
More than $40 million was raised during the
quarter. "This level of fundraising is a very positive sign
for the sector and the companies that sought funds experienced
very strong demand," noted Mr Pachacz.
The quarter concluded on a historic note as
Ventracor announced the first human implant of its VentrAssist
heart assist device in a trial at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.
"While there is more validation of the device required before
it is approved and made available, its implanting in a patient
on Saturday represents a tremendous achievement for Australian
Bioshares is weekly biotech stock report
and is published by Blake Industry and Market Analysis Pty Ltd,
a Melbourne-based research company that specialises in analysing
companies in the healthcare and biotechnology sector.
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Web Site: http://www.bioshares.com.au