If the lack of a spending bill shuts down the government this evening, biotech investors will get a break from one of their favorite pastimes: betting on binary events.

Like most government agencies, the Food and Drug Administration will cut nonessential workers. CNN reported that some plant inspections will continue, but they'll be prioritized to high-risk plants that have a history of safety issues. It seems that Dendreon's (Nasdaq: DNDN) investors should plan for a delay in approval of its new plants in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Drug approvals seem to fall in the nonessential category. But it gets worse. Not only are we unlikely to see any approvals during the shutdown, but decisions on drugs such as Vertex Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: VRTX) telaprevir, Merck's (NYSE: MRK) boceprevir, and Seattle Genetics' (Nasdaq: SGEN) brentuximab vedotin with applications currently pending at the FDA will be delayed. BioWorld Today reports that the agency plans to push back PDUFA dates by the number of days the government is shut down.

Investors looking to get their fix of potential big stock moves can still invest in companies with upcoming clinical trial results. Celgene (Nasdaq: CELG) should present results from a phase 2 trial for its lung cancer drug amrubicin shortly. And Amarin (Nasdaq: AMRN) expects results from its second phase 3 trial for its cholesterol drug AMR101 this quarter.

And of course there's still one upcoming binary event that will still be in play: when the shutdown will end. Investors could sell put options on companies with upcoming FDA decisions that would then expire worthless if the decision date is extended beyond option expiration. Or take it a step further and strangle the stock.

Or you could just use the break to add stocks to your watchlist and do some more research.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.