You've got to love biotech. In what other industry can you routinely see double-digit single-day pops?
Yesterday it was Dyax's
Dyax's drug Kalbitor was approved to treat attacks of hereditary angioedema (HAE), a rare disease that results in swelling, which can be life-threatening if it occurs near the airway. While the disease may be rare, treatments for it aren't. ViroPharma
Santarus' bump was for an over-the-counter version of its heartburn medication Zegerid, which will be marketed by Merck
While biotech has plenty of ups, it's not without its risks. Hemispherx Biopharma plummeted 41% yesterday when the FDA turned down its treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, but that was a long shot at best with its shaky phase 3 data. A little closer to home for yesterday's winners, Dyax is down today after partner Cubist Pharmaceuticals said it's ending enrollment early in two phase 2 trials early. The highest dose of Kalbitor appeared to be associated with increased deaths in one trial testing the drug's ability to prevent blood loss during heart surgery.
Still, if you pick your battles right, the rewards can sharply outweigh your risks.
Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., has scored 87 points on his Hemispherx underperform call in CAPS, but he doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. The Fool owns shares of P&G. The disclosure policy is approved for reading on Tuesdays by candlelight.