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Health Care: Biotechnology 2009

In a year when the biotechnology universe shrank — in March the first and biggest recombinant DNA company.

Mark Schoenebaum

Mark Schoenebaum Deutsche

second teamGeoffrey Meacham J.P. Morgan

third teamGeoffrey Porges Sanford C. Bernstein

In a year when the biotechnology universe shrank — in March the first and biggest recombinant DNA company, South San Francisco–based Genentech, was acquired by Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche Holding — investors looking to fill the hole in their portfolios sought counsel from proven performers like five-time category champion Mark ­Schoenebaum of Deutsche Bank Securities. “He combines profound knowledge of these technologies and their potential with a great talent for finding trading ideas,” says one appre­ciative investor. One example of the latter: Schoene­baum, 36, initiated coverage on Summit, New ­Jersey–based genetic therapy developer Celgene Corp. with a buy rating in July, at $47.39, on the belief that the stock had been punished too severely for a first-­quarter earnings miss. By the end of August, the shares had bounced 10.1 percent, to $52.17, and beat the sector by 8.9 percentage points.

Repeating in second, ­Geoffrey Meacham provides what one ­money man­ager calls “extraordinary insight” into the results of clinical drug trials. Reasoning that Amgen had a good shot at becoming a leading osteoporosis drug­maker if the Food and Drug Administration approved its experimental bone treatment denosumab for use in postmenopausal women and certain cancer patients, the J.P. Morgan analyst upgraded shares of the Thousand Oaks, ­California–based com­pany to overweight in March, at $51.47. In August the FDA granted conditional approval of denosumab, and by the end of the month the stock was up 16.1 percent, to $59.78.

In third place for a second consecutive year, Geoffrey Porges of Sanford C. Bernstein urged clients to buy shares of Gilead Sciences in October 2008, at $41.39, because his research showed that the Foster City, ­California–based anti­viral therapy developer would keep its HIV drug franchise through at least 2017. By August 31 the stock had climbed 8.9 percent, to $45.06. “He digs the deepest to test the assumptions based into these stocks,” says one buy-side ­enthusiast.

Click here to see the All-America Research Teamrankings.

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