NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 02/11/13 -- A sharp increase in drug approvals and mergers and acquisitions combined to create a bull market for the Biotechnology Industry in 2012. The iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB), the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) and the First Trust Amex Biotechnology Index ETF (FBT) have all gained over 20 percent in the past year, outperforming the broader markets by a good margin. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Biotech Industry and provides equity research on Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) and Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA).
Bloomberg recently reported drug approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reached a 15 year high in 2012. The FDA approved a total of 39 novel medicines last year, an increase of 30 percent when compared to a year ago. Oncology drugs lead the way with 11 new drugs approved last year. Over the last ten years the number of FDA approvals had averaged roughly 23 a year. The passage of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) played a major role in the sharp increase in approvals.
The PDUFA "has provided critical resources for improving the quality and timeliness of premarket review of drugs," said FDA spokeswoman, Sandy Walsh. "These accomplishments could not have been achieved without the innovations of the biopharmaceutical industry and the dedication and skill of FDA's drug review staff."
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Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The company expects to have five RNAi therapeutic products for genetically defined diseases in clinical development, including programs in advanced stages, on its own or with a partner by the end of 2015.
Arena Pharmaceuticals is focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel drugs for weight management, cardiovascular disease, inflammation and other disorders. BELVIQ was approved by the FDA for chronic weight management in June 2012, and is currently under review for marketing approval in the European Union and Switzerland.
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