NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 02/22/13 -- 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 Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: LXRX) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: INO).
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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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Lexicon Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company that has harnessed the power of genetics for drug discovery. Lexicon has used its proprietary gene knockout technology to identify more than 100 promising drug targets. The FDA has granted Orphan Drug designation to telotristat etiprate (LX1032) for the treatment of carcinoid syndrome.
Inovio is revolutionizing vaccines to prevent and treat today's cancers and challenging infectious diseases. Its SynCon vaccines are designed to provide universal immune responses against multiple known as well as newly emergent unmatched strains of pathogens such as influenza. The company plans to initiate a clinical trial for its Hepatitis C Therapeutic vaccine (INO-8000) later this year.
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