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Top 5 Health-Care Tweets of the Week

By Brian Orelli, PhD - Sep 27, 2013 at 6:03PM

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Sorting through the noise to bring insight and investment lessons.

Twitter is without a doubt the most useful tool for gathering information about the health-care sector; but only if you follow the right people, and read everything they tweet. Even then there's a lot of noise that you have to filter through.

In this new weekly column, I'll try to help you out, bringing you the top tweets I see, with some commentary. Read to the end to see how you can help make it even better.

Phil identifies the major problem with shorting smaller biotechs and medical-device makers. There's no telling when a large player is going to come along and purchase the company for a hefty premium. This week, Stryker took out MAKO Surgical (MAKO.DL) for 85% higher than it closed the day before. All those shares sold short will have to be repurchased at the higher valuation.

Your short thesis about a small company struggling to sell its drug or device might be completely correct, but that doesn't mean a larger company won't think it can do better.

Biotech is volatile; but, unfortunately, reducing risk also limits results. Ross missed a 10% run trying to preserve capital.

Amarin (AMRN 2.48%) has been on a bit of a terror since early August as investors anticipate the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee meeting on October 16 to expand the use of Vascepa to patients with moderately high triglyceride levels. Investors love catalysts, so the run up isn't all that unexpected, but it may be a bumpy road to get there.

Vikram is referring to the cholesterol-lowering drugs that target PCSK9, a protein that binds to the LDL cholesterol receptor, and blocks its degradation. Blocking PCSK9 -- Amgen (AMGN 0.02%) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN 0.77%) are doing it with antibodies, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY) is taking an RNAi approach -- results in LDL cholesterol receptor degradation and, therefore, less of the bad LDL cholesterol.

Amgen's AMG145, and Regneron's alirocumab, which is partnered with Sanofi, are in the lead with phase 3 programs in process, but there are plenty of other drugmakers going after the prize. In addition to the aforementioned Alnylam, Pfizer, Novartis, and Roche also have PCSK9 programs. Handicapping how much of the market each drug will get is going to be difficult, but that doesn't mean analysts won't try.

Agreed. Using "potent" to describe retaspimycin when reporting the failure of a clinical trial is bad form. Infinity Pharmaceuticals (INFI 6.48%) is now focused on IPI-145, which the biotech also describes as "potent." Hope that's not a sign.

Perhaps Infinity should wait until proof-of-concept trials are complete before ascribing adjectives to its compounds. What's potent in the lab isn't necessarily what's potent in the clinic.

In case you hadn't heard, the health exchanges open October 1. The article covers what 80% of Americans need to know. It's not what you think.

Your top tweets
See a tweet you think is worthy of a spot in the top five? You can tweet me a link to the tweet at @BiologyFool. Insights, investment lessons, and general Foolery are highly encouraged.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Amarin Corporation plc Stock Quote
Amarin Corporation plc
AMRN
$1.65 (2.48%) $0.04
Amgen Inc. Stock Quote
Amgen Inc.
AMGN
$248.39 (0.02%) $0.04
MAKO Surgical Corp. Stock Quote
MAKO Surgical Corp.
MAKO.DL
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Stock Quote
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
REGN
$628.71 (0.77%) $4.81
Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Stock Quote
Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
INFI
$1.15 (6.48%) $0.07

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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