Development-stage drugmaker Array BioPharma (NASDAQ:ARRY) announced its fourth-quarter financial results yesterday.

Despite having one of the largest oncology- and inflammatory-disease-focused pipelines among all of the development-stage biopharmas, Array continues to remain a relatively unknown drug developer.

Array's pipeline isn't exciting just because of its depth. After all, a drugmaker with even dozens of compounds in development is worthless if none of them ever make it to market. What makes Array so interesting is the mix of validated and novel cancer pathway targets of its compounds being developed in-house and with partner AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN). Its hepatitis C protease inhibitor out-licensed to InterMune (NASDAQ:ITMN) is also in an exciting new class of therapies for the disease, and begins efficacy testing this quarter.

The next fiscal year ends in June 2008. By that time, Array plans to have initiated or completed four phase 2 proof of concept efficacy studies for its lead compounds. Results for its lead phase 2 oncology compound being developed with AstraZeneca are expected by June of next year, and Array hopes to move three new compounds into clinical stage testing in the next fiscal year.

Not only is Array's pipeline improving, but so is its balance sheet. Array expects that it will sign at least one partnership deal by the end of calendar year 2007. What really matters is whether the deal is signed on terms that can help reduce the massive cash burn that will occur with so many drugs in development.

By the end of calendar year 2008, Array is guiding for a whopping 10 compounds to be in clinical stage testing. This compares very favorably to oncology-focused development-stage biopharma Exelixis (NASDAQ:EXEL) with 14 compounds in human testing. With upcoming clinical trial results for some of these compounds less than a year away, investors won't have to wait long to see if Array's oncology compounds turn out to be as promising as those in Exelixis' portfolio.

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Fool contributor Brian Lawler owns shares of InterMune but no other company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.