On Sunday, the world's largest independent biotechnology company, Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN), bought Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ONXX) in a $10.4 billion dollar deal - making it the fifth-largest biotech deal in history according to Standard & Poor's Capital IQ.
The Amgen deal with Onyx highlights where insiders - and investors - see the best investments in the biotech industry.
Double Your Money in No Time Flat
If you're looking to double your money, the biotech sector is one of the best hunting grounds that you'll find.
So far this year, for instance, the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (NASDAQ: IBB) - an ETF that's a great proxy for the sector - has zoomed 28.2%, more than double the 13.59% SPDR S&P 500 Index ETF (NYSEArca: SPY). The IBB gained 31% last year.
And a lot of individual biotech stocks have actually doubled, tripled or more - the Holy-Grail type of gains that high-tech investors crave.
But there's a problem.
You see, not all biotech stocks are created equal.
Why This Stock (and Sector) Will Trounce All Others
Forget gold, forget oil, and forget the S&P 500.
If you want to make big money in the market today you have to look to biotech.
In fact, if you ignore this field, you're going to miss some of the market's biggest stock gains.
That's because what happened earlier this week is going to become the norm.
On Monday, of the top 25 Nasdaq advancing stocks, 12 were straight-up biotech plays and another was a small-cap healthcare concern.
Their one-day gains ranged from 8% to 47%. Not bad for a day's trade.
This Biotech Patent Leader Generates an 8.3% Dividend Yield
I was a hard-working journalist in the early 1990s - and the whole Human Genome effort was transforming biotechnology into front-page news - when the Oakland Tribune offered me a job as a financial writer.
When the editor explained that biotechnology would be one of my "beats" ... well, I jumped at the chance.
It was one of the best career decisions I ever made.
Biotech was an exciting beat to work ... and that was an exciting time to work it. So I immersed myself in my assignments. And that meant that I talked at length with patients, company executives, industry analysts, financiers, top researchers, and senior officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency that approves all new drugs sold in the United States.
A five-part series that I produced about a pioneering therapy for multiple sclerosis generated a lot of accolades and was one of my favorite achievements from the four years I spent on the biotech beat.
But the real benefit was in the insights that I gained, and the lessons I learned.
They've paid off for me in a big way through the years.
And now they're going to pay off for you.
Medical Miracle: Biotech Duo Is "Printing" New Organs
Imagine a future in which anyone needing a transplant could just create the needed tissue on their home printer.
That day hasn't arrived yet ... but it's getting closer all the time.
A partnership between a global software firm and an early-stage biotech player is already promising to transform the field of medical transplants.
And for many patients, that day can't get here soon enough.
Why the Pentagon Wants to Use This Penny Stock to Cure the Flu
A tiny clinical-stage biotech firm is pioneering a ground-breaking new way to fight the flu.
Their process is so radical it has caught the eye of DARPA , the shadowy research and development arm of the Pentagon.
What makes their process so unique is that the company uses tobacco plants instead of eggs to produce the recombinant proteins that are the key to vaccines.
Its goal is to dramatically cut the time it takes to manufacture vaccines, which can take as long as nine months to put into production.
In fact, in a key test of the firm's technology DARPA recently ordered 10 million doses of a vaccine candidate as part of a $21 million project.
By all accounts they came through with flying colors, delivering 10 million doses of the H1N1 influenza vaccine in just one month.
So who is this ground-breaking new vaccine company?
It's a tiny Canadian-based firm called Medicago Inc. (OTC:MDCGF; TSX:MDG).
The Next Profit Breakthrough: Synthetic Biology
Drug, chemical, and biofuel firms are relying more than ever on artificial fragments of DNA to invent new products. It's called synthetic biology.
For example, teams all over the world are now in their labs looking to create novel biotech compounds or drugs by inserting synthetic DNA into cells, either living or artificial. They're also growing new microorganisms that yield biofuels to be used in lieu of oil.
Trouble is, the process is so complex that it can take days to synthesize these man-made genes, usually in small batches.
Not only is it time consuming, but it requires the use of costly robots and other advanced gear. Simply stated, if someone came along with a breakthrough that greatly speeded up the development of synthetic genes, it could affect several industries at once, not to mention its own value in the market.
Allow me to introduce you to Gen9 Inc. The company is blazing a trail in the development of scalable technologies for synthesizing genes.
Now, Gen9 is a small, new dynamic company. And its potential is huge.
It was formed last summer around a unique new device that greatly speeds up the process of creating synthetic DNA.
Even better, it cuts the cost of that process by leaps and bounds.
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These Five Biotech Firms Will Literally Change the World
The biotech industry is getting ready to transform the human race as we know it.
It will help us cure cancer, rid us of the scourge of Alzheimer's, and make 100-year life spans routine. Not only that, but we will lead much healthier and more intelligent lives as a result.
I've followed this field for more than 20 years and have never seen so many advances coming so quickly.
Of course, a big part of that stems from the fact that we have passed the tipping point in other forms of cutting-edge tech the biosciences have adopted -- faster computers, better sensors and tiny digital circuits.
And now that we have a complete map of the human genome, biotech has reached critical mass. Add it all up and you have an unending series of advances that will redefine life in the Era of Radical Change.
To help make sense of the profound impact this will have on our lives, I have compiled a list of five firms that are pushing biotech into new realms.
Each has accomplished a major breakthrough. Take a look...
Biotech Firm No. 1: Spinal Cord TherapyTalk about a brilliant breakthrough. InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. (OTC:NVIV) has a radical new way of treating spinal cord injuries (SCIs).
And it's moving fast. The firm expects to get FDA clearance to begin human trials later this year.
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"Bionic Eyes" Could Make Blindness a Thing of the Past
Just last week I told you the day of bionic humans is at hand.
Some of you were excited by the possibilities. Take Matt:
"As someone who has bounced back from a severe head injury 25 years ago to do things the brain injury rehab team told me would simply not be possible - complete my bachelor's degree as well as a master's, get married, and subsequently raise a son on my own as a single parent, etc. - I am especially excited about the possibilities at the juncture of neurological research, computing technology, and prosthetics. I will be overjoyed when the day comes that I can once again use both my hands to type 100 words/minute with few to no mistakes, like I could when I first learned to type on an electric typewriter, nearly 40 years ago."
On the other hand, several of you thought it sounded like a nightmare. Here's what Claire had to say:
"Transhumanism is a dark future that is presented as wonderful, but which will alienate those who embrace it from their humanity... Not for me, I would rather remain human."
Either way, it seems bionic tech is actually moving faster than I thought...
Restoring Sight to the Blind
You may recall that I cited two examples of future devices to enhance your eyes. One is a pair of contact lenses, and the other is an implant that would go in your retina. Both could access the wireless Web to keep you connected to the world's vast database of knowledge, wherever you are.
Well, it's come out that at least two companies hope to start selling bionic eyes in the U.S. within the next 16 months.
Neither of these designs is made to surf the Web. Instead, these cutting-edge breakthroughs could help millions of blind or visually impaired people to see again.
Take a look...
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