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A Deadly Wall of Silence Surrounds a Potentially Global Pandemic Disease

By Greg Madison, Associate Editor, Money Morning

One of the really beneficial things about science is its power to transcend borders and ideologies.

Scientists in countries that may be totally hostile to one another have the chance of collaborating on difficult problems in a spirit of openness.

This ability to collaborate and exchange information across borders is particularly important when a new disease with global pandemic potential emerges, as it has in the Middle East with the respiratory system coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

This "novel coronavirus" was identified in September of 2012 in the Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah. The disease was found in a deceased 60-year old man who died of acute pneumonia and kidney failure. Little else is known of this unfortunate individual.

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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, the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (NASDAQ: IBB) has jumped 28.2%, more than double the 13.59% gain in the S&P 500. That's on top of the 31% IBB gained last year.
What's more, a lot of individual biotech stocks have actually doubled, tripled or more.
In fact, this sector is so hot I think I've found my next double...

Why This Stock (and Sector) Will Trounce All Others

If you want to make big money in the market today you have to look to the biotech sector.
Of the top 25 advancing Nasdaq stocks on Monday, 12 were biotech plays and another was a small-cap health-care concern.
Their one-day gains ranged from 8% to 47%. Not bad for a day's trade.
Here's one soaring young biotech that's a perfect example of this boom...

Medical Miracle: Biotech Duo Is "Printing" New Organs

Thanks to a partnership between a global software firm and an early-stage biotech player, the day will soon come when anyone who needs a transplant will just "print" the needed tissue. Here's the idea...

Why the Pentagon Wants to Use This Penny Stock to Cure the Flu

Standard flu vaccine technology is hopelessly outdated. Many vaccines are still grown inside chicken eggs. There's a very real threat that a new strain of flu will hit - one for which there is no vaccine. (That's what happened with SARS.)
Small wonder DARPA - the shadowy research and development arm of the Pentagon - just jumped to fund the work of this tiny biotech firm...
The company is pioneering a ground-breaking new process that uses tobacco plants instead of eggs to produce the recombinant proteins that are the key to vaccines. This dramatically cuts the time it takes to manufacture and can be done 10 times cheaper than a conventional facility.
In other words, this penny stock firm is revolutionizing a $30 billion industry...

Investing in Biotech Stocks: Why the "ASCO Effect" Rally Could Start Tomorrow

Get ready to profit from the "ASCO Effect."

Each June, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) hosts its annual meeting - an event that's attended by 30,000 people and the scene of 4,000 presentations.

And each May, just ahead of this crucial gathering, a select group of oncology stocks takes investors on a pretty wild ride - almost like clockwork.

That's the "ASCO Effect."

The catalyst for this big run-up - in which some stocks double, triple or quadruple in price (or more) - is well-known. A few weeks ahead of the meeting, ASCO posts drug-research abstracts of some of the presenting companies on its Website; investors look at the clinical-trial results contained in the abstracts, and key on the most-promising players - igniting share rallies so torrid that they're remembered for years.

This year's ASCO annual meeting is scheduled for June 1-5 in Chicago.

But, according to the latest reports we've seen, the abstracts are due out at 6 p.m. (EDT) today (Wednesday).

If that deadline is met, you can bet that investors will be scouring those abstracts all night.

If you want an example of the ASCO Effect in action, just look at what happened with OXiGENE Inc. (Nasdaq: OXGN) shares just 12 months ago. As May opened last year, OXiGENE was a relatively unremarkable biotech stock. Indeed, the company was juggling a lot of problems.

OXiGENE faced questions about its management turnover and its cash position. Shareholders were worried about its cancer-drug pipeline. And the stock was trading at less than $2 a share.

In fact, OXiGENE shares had been one of the biotech sector's worst performers in 2010, and the company had to endure the ignominy of a reverse stock split in February 2011.

Then came the ASCO Effect.

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Biotech Stock ETFs: How to Ride the Surge in Biotech Mergers & Acquisitions

Innovations in biotechnology are evolving at the speed of light.

In fact, astonishing advancements in biotech have transformed the way we practice medicine. Leading-edge biotech products and breakthroughs are literally saving thousands of lives every day.

Needless to say, biotech stocks can be strong medicine for investors, too.

For instance, the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index rose 457% from the end of August 1998 to the end of February 2000. Going back even further to the early 1990s, biotech stocks have soared by 1,347%.

Think about it... for biotech investors every $10,000 invested turned into nearly $140,000.

The good news for investors is that after slumping during the recession, biotech stocks are making a comeback. In the first quarter of 2012 alone, the Nasdaq Biotech Index gained 18.2%

And conditions are setting up for even better gains in the future.

Here's why...

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Investing in Biotech Stocks: The Latest Buyout Candidate

The biotechnology buyout binge continued this week, driving profits for those investing in biotech stocks.

The sector's latest M&A news picks up a story that began in April, when Human Genome Sciences (Nasdaq: HGSI), the U.S. pioneer of gene-based drug discovery, rebuffed a $2.6 billion bid from Britain's GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE ADR: GSK).

Human Genome argued the unsolicited bid did not reflect the company's inherent value. GSK adamantly insisted its bid, an 81% premium when settled upon on April 18, is full and fair.

UK-based GSK is not taking the rejection sitting down...

Investing in Biotech Stocks: The Buyout Binge Continues

The biotechnology buyout deals just keep coming, meaning those investing in biotech stocks have scored some juicy profits - with more on the way.

Watson Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: WPI) announced Wednesday it would buy competitor Actavis for $5.6 billion- the latest deal in an already-white-hot market for biotech buyouts.

In fact, get this: Although healthcare deals in the first four months of 2012 are down 32% on a year-over-year basis compared with the same period in 2011, biotech mergers-and-acquisition deals are up 38% so far this year.

And biotech merger mania is far from over.

AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE ADR: AZN) early Monday offered to pay $1.1 billion for Ardea Biosciences Inc. (Nasdaq: RDEA).

And Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: AMLN) - a San Diego-based diabetes drugmaker whose shares recently surged after allegedly spurning a $3.5 billion offer from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) - appears to be seeking a buyer.

On Sunday, Reuters reported that Amylin has hired Credit Suisse AG (NYSE ADR: CS) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) as its financial advisers, and Skadden Arps as its legal adviser.

These deals have been going on all year.

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Biotech Stocks: How to Invest in the Buyout Binge

Big drugmakers are scrambling.

Right now, some of their most-lucrative blockbuster drugs are coming "off patent" - meaning they face the loss of $170 billion in annual sales.

But I'm going to let you in on a secret that Wall Street investment pros hope the little guy never learns: The very same problem that has Big Pharma execs wringing their hands even as you read this is also creating one of the biggest profit opportunities we've seen in years.

To show you what I mean, allow me to tell you two quick stories.

The Secret Path to Biotech Profits

Late in my business journalism career, I spent three years covering the biotech sector.

Let me tell you: That reporting job brought me to a very quick understanding of just how challenging this business really is.

Wall Street and Big Pharma executives beat the drum about their successes - the new "miracle drugs" that treat or cure obesity, arthritis, depression and cancer. We hear about those achievements all the time.

What I found in my reporting, however, was that the failures dwarf the success stories.

The failure numbers are actually downright mind-numbing.

For every 1,000 "compounds" (drug candidates) that enter laboratory testing, only one will ever make it to human testing.

Indeed, once a company develops a drug, it's usually looking at about three-and-a-half years of testing in the lab before it can even apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval to begin testing in humans.

Of all the drug candidates that enter Phase I trials - the first of three phases that mark the path to FDA approval - only one in five ever makes it to market.

The bottom line, as I discovered, is this: It can take 10 to 12 years and $1 billion or more to develop a new drug.

For Big Pharma CEOs who are staring at eroding patent coverage and searching for replacement blockbusters, that's too much time and way too much risk.

They're not abandoning internal drug development. But they're also pursuing an alternative strategy: Sniff out the small players already developing the new potential blockbusters and either buy the drug, or buy the company outright.

That urgent multi-billion-dollar shopping spree is going on right now... boosted to the max by a need to keep boards and shareholders happy.

As Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) CEO Kenneth Frazier recently told an investor group: "My goal is to augment the pipeline. The way to augment is to find those assets that we can acquire."

That's easier said than done.

For one thing, Big Pharma/Big Biotech companies are fat with cash. That means there's a lot of competition in the search for new drugs or entire companies to buy. For another, there's a "scarcity of growth assets," as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) said in a new report.

Although that supply/demand scenario is a tough one for Big Pharma, it's a terrific one for investors like us: It puts pressure on the suitors to buy whatever's available. And it means the prices will be high when they do.

And, as my second story demonstrates, those deals do happen.

In fact, our subscribers recently reaped a big payday from just that kind of deal.

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