As the market frets about which drugs are coming off patent when, some biotechs are poised to capitalize on the changing pharmaceutical environment while others are teetering on the verge of extinction. That makes it a good time to be watching biotechs, and today we're able to single out the one player in this exciting industry that is garnering the most attention.

People watch stocks for different reasons – they're waiting for a dip in price, watching for a specific catalyst, gathering all the news and information that might affect stocks they already own, or considering a sell. Regardless of their motivation, we can better understand market sentiment by seeing who's watching what. With the Fool's free My Watchlist service now three months old, we have tens of thousands of people telling us the businesses that have, for whatever reason, piqued their interest.

And the most-watched biotech company is ...
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD) is the overwhelming leader in terms of watch interest, the percentage of people keeping an eye on the biotech industry in general who are specifically watching each company. That's hardly a shock.

As David Gardner and Karl Thiel wrote when they made the California-based company a formal Stock Advisor recommendation in September, "Gilead is a biotech powerhouse when it comes to HIV drugs. It created the world's top-selling HIV medications, Truvada and Atripla, and commands about 75% of the U.S. treatment market and more than 50% worldwide. Its remarkable growth -- 2,250% over the past 15 years -- made it an industry darling, perhaps the most-loved biotech out there, until recently. Since the start of 2009, Gilead has lost nearly 35% of its value, but where the market sees a lost cause, we spy opportunity."

Here are the rest of the biotechs with their watch interest along with the stocks' CAPS rating to show the sentiment of our free investing community.


Market Cap
(in millions)

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Watch Interest





Exelixis (Nasdaq: EXEL)




Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN)




Dendreon (Nasdaq: DNDN)




ImmunoGen (Nasdaq: IMGN)




Maxygen (Nasdaq: MAXY)




It's an iffy time for biotechs. As Foolish analyst Brian Orelli wrote in a look at the biotech IPOs of 2010, "The biotech IPO window finally opened fully in 2010, but investors weren't that interested in what companies had to offer. Many companies priced their IPOs below their proposed range, and the number of biotechs trading under their IPO price is rather astounding. Still, it's not like these are inherently bad companies. Instead, I take the lower prices as a sign that investors' appetite for risk isn't quite back to biotech's heyday levels yet."

If you're waiting for that interest to return for these erstwhile growth companies, it pays to watch. You can make smarter investing decisions with your own version of My Watchlist, free from the Fool. Click below to start following one of the stocks mentioned above:

Roger Friedman owns shares of Exelixis. Exelixis and ImmunoGen are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Gilead Sciences is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Exelixis and Maxygen. 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.