Drug developers with strong discovery platforms often make the best investments in pharma land because they can grow their pipelines organically rather than rely on acquisitions. This is why I've highlighted Pharmacopeia (NASDAQ:PCOP) as a drugmaker that all pharma investors should watch.

On Monday, Pharmacopeia presented at the Merriman Curhan Ford (MCF) investor conference following a busy couple of days with multiple announcements on its lead drugs.

Pharmacopeia's lead internally held drug is a dual-mechanism hypertension treatment that targets two known receptors involved in the disorder. At MCF, Pharmacopeia estimated the worldwide market for treatments in all stages of hypertension to be around $35 billion to $45 billion but will be positioning its drug, which it informally calls DARA (short for duel-acting receptor antagonist), as an agent for patients with high blood pressure in combination with diabetic nephropathy.

Last week, Pharmacopeia announced results from a 14-day safety study of DARA, and this week, it continued the information flow by announcing that it was beginning the first of several phase 2 efficacy studies of the drug, with data expected to start coming in during the first half of 2008.

Any potential hypertension treatment requires thousands of patient-years' worth of testing, so tiny Pharmacopeia plans on finding a partner for DARA before phase 3 testing begins. The drug has patent protection to 2019.

Besides DARA, Pharmacopeia has another eight compounds in preclinical or clinical development. These drugs are all partnered with large drugmakers like Wyeth (NYSE:WYE). Two of these compounds were also highlighted at MCF.

One of these two, a CXCR2 inhibitor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is partnered with Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP). The market for COPD treating compounds is estimated at roughly $9 billion in the U.S. alone. Pharmacopeia's CXCR2 is currently in phase 2 testing.

Pharmacopeia's other drug candidate of interest is its p38 kinase inhibitor that is being tested as a treatment for psoriasis. Other drugmakers like Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) also have p38 compounds in development, so there's some interest among other drugmakers with this target. Pharmacopeia's partner on its p38 inhibitor, Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), has the drug in phase 2 testing right now.

Trading at a tiny market cap of $165 million, Pharmacopeia hasn't garnered a lot of investor interest with its early-stage drug pipeline. With several interesting compounds in development, it may not be that way for long.

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Fool contributor Brian Lawler does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has discovered a strong disclosure policy.