Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP) has a pipeline, and it's not afraid to flaunt it. Yesterday, in fact, the company laid it all out for investors to see. But if you've been reading my articles since the company bought Organon Biosciences, you already knew that the company is in good shape.

Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Schering have been dealing with the Enhance data that killed the growth of Vytorin and Zetia for almost a year now, but Schering, at least, is going to bounce back because of its substantial pipeline.

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 (NYSE:JNJ) follow-up to Remicade, which Schering markets overseas, and could help Schering stay in the lucrative rheumatoid arthritis market.

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' (NASDAQ:VRTX) telaprevir to get to market. But Schering also has an anti-clotting drug, TRA, which could jump on the coattails of Sanofi-Aventis' (NYSE:SNY), Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE:BMY) multibillion-dollar Plavix, and maybe Eli Lilly's (NYSE:LLY) prasugrel, if the latter ever gets approved.

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.