Biotech and Pharmaceuticals
Comment of the Day

January 22 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Biotech and Pharmaceuticals

Eoin Treacy's view Biotech represented a major theme during the technology bubble of the late 1990s but the majority of therapies, equipment and medicines promised were, for the most part, years from commercialisation if viable at all. Over the intervening 13 years there has been a great deal of consolidation within the sector. M&A activity remains brisk as companies vie with one another to capture intellectual property particularly in the genetics sector where therapies are close to being brought to market.

I last reviewed a number of Nasdaq-100 listed healthcare companies in October 29th . For a more comprehensive review of biotech shares please see Comment of the Day on July 10th.

Biogen remains in a relatively consistent medium-term uptrend and has unwound its overbought condition relative to the 200-day MA over the last few months. It will need to continue to find support in the region of the MA if the benefit of the doubt is to continue to be given to the medium-term uptrend. Amgen has lagged somewhat but has a broadly similar pattern. It pulled back rather sharply last week and will also need to find support in the region of the 200-day MA.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals pulled back sharply from the $120 area in September but found support in the region of the 200-day MA and has held a progression of incrementally higher reaction lows since November. A sustained move below $91.75 would be required to question potential for additional higher to lateral ranging.

Illumina, Cubist Pharmaceuticals and Myriad Genetics have all found at least short-term support in the region of their respective 200-day MAs and sustained moves below their trend means would be required to question medium-term scope for additional upside.

While the above shares represent those which have been reverting towards their respective means and have returned to areas of potential support, there is also a significant number that are rallying rather impressively and breaking out of relatively lengthy consolidations in the process.

Celgene paused below $80 for much of 2012 but found support in the region of the 200-day MA in November and exploded out of its range two weeks ago. While overbought in the short-term a clear downward dynamic will be required to check momentum and to suggest a process of reversion is underway.

Life Technologies rallied impressively last week to post new all time highs and while there is scope for consolidation of this gain, the benefit of the doubt can be given to additional medium-term upside provided it continues to hold above the 200-day MA.

Seattle Genetics found support in the region of the 200-day MA three weeks ago and has rallied to retest the all-time peak near $30.

The Medicines has been trending reasonably consistently for more than two years but has rallied by more than 50% since the November lows and is becoming increasingly susceptible to mean reversion. Immunogen has been more volatile but has posted a similar sized rally from the November lows.

Gilead Sciences broke out to new all-time highs in July and continues to trend consistently higher. It reasserted its uptrend again two weeks ago and a sustained move below $70 would be required to question the consistency of the advance.

ResMed broke out of its two-year range in August and also continues to extend the advance. While mildly overbought in the short-term a sustained move below the 200-day MA would be required to question medium-term upside potential.

Among the smaller companies in this sector GTX, with a market cap of only $300 million, is notable because of the rounding characteristic evident within its base formation that suggests accumulation.

Given the above evidence of considerable bullish interest in this sector, in conjunction with the pace of M&A activity, the outlook for the Biotech sector from an investment perspective remains upbeat.

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