The biotechnology industry is the so-called grail of economic development, and cities are betting taxpayer money on research parks and wet laboratories. Shaila Dewan for The New York Times reports that there are two problems with the race for biotech in these cities:
- The industry is highly concentrated in established epicenters like Boston, San Diego and San Francisco, which offer not just scientific talent but also executives who know how to steer drugs through the long approval process. Getting that top talent to move to other cities might be a challenge.
- Biotech is a small industry with a lengthy product-development process, and even in its largest clusters offers only a fraction of the jobs of traditional manufacturing. In the United States, only 43 biotechnology companies employ more than 1,000 people.
Nevertheless, biotech stocks and ETF continue to enjoy the rally, with shares of Human Genome Science (HGSI) rocketing 20%, and the Amex Pharmaceutical Index up 2%. Late Wednesday, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended that two leading psychiatric medications – AstraZeneca’s Seroquel and Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa – be approved for use in teenagers and certain children suffering from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, reports Val Brickates Kennedy for The Wall Street Journal.
A few biotech-realetd ETFs:
- PowerShares Dynamic Biotech & Genome Portfolio (PBE): down 0.4% year-to-date
- SPDR S&P Biotech (XBI): down 8.5% year-to-date
- iShares Nasdaq Bioetch ETF (IBB): down 0.9% year-to-date
For more stories on biotechnology, visist our biotechnology category.