Sunday, February 26, 2012

Common Biotech Investor Mistakes

Via the most excellent Adam Feuerstein on The is a link to 18 common mistakes by rookie biotech investors.

The list is somewhat tongue-in-cheek yet educational for all. 

I'd add a few myself:

1) if an new technical theme ("stem cells," "RNAi," "genomics," "gene therapy,") emerges you MUST invest in it now before it is too late. 

(reality: despite all of the hype about how such-and-such technology will change the world, there is always another opportunity to invest later. let the early adopter-investors de-risk the technology.)


2) do NOT miss any possible inflection points for a stock of interest.

(reality: any new technology (or drug) will always have another news event to serve as an inflection point. FDA approval is one inflection point you might not want to miss, but behind that there's "first sale," "first quarter results," first year results," etc.)

3) the market rewards novelty.

(reality: as you can see with the current frenzy of Hep C deals, being 4th or 5th in a de-risked class of drugs is likely more valuable than being first in a novel class of drugs. 

4) ignore Carl Icahn. He's just an agitator, not a biotech investor.

(reality: he's exactly what biotech investing needs: someone less enchanted with scientific potential, and more interested in business reality. If you don't believe this, consider his track record over the last 5 years, with big "wins" in Genzyme, MedImmune, ImClone, and Biogen, with profit in excess of $2B.)

5) the dollar amounts in press releases are money in the bank - your valuations should reflect them.

(reality: when big pharma X enters a half-billion dollar partnership with biotech Z, they've really agreed on just two things: funding for the near term of a specific project, and an understanding of what a "best case scenario" for the project might look like. The only way the biotech gets the press release "bio-dollars" is if everything works out as expected, and it NEVER does. That's why it is science, not manufacturing.

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