The company has nine drugs in phase 3 development and three more waiting for decisions from the Food and Drug Administration. Unfortunately, of the three that have completed phase 3 trials, two have big question marks next to them. Anti-psychotic Saphris has seen its approval delayed, and Bridion, an anesthesia reversal agent, was rejected by the FDA even after an advisory panel gave it a thumbs-up. The third, Simponi, is Johnson & Johnson's
The real gold lies farther back in the pipeline, where Schering has some potential blockbusters on its hands. The most famous is probably hepatitis C treatment bocepravir, which is in a race with Vertex Pharmaceuticals'
Pipelines are the lifeline of pharmaceutical companies, whether they're developed internally, purchased through acquisitions, or licensed through partnerships. Investors would be wise to look for companies like Schering with multiple shots on goal.
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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly are selections of the Income Investor newsletter. The Fool's disclosure policy does a wild impersonation of an origami crane.