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Biotech's Best Quotes Go Straight to the Heart of 2009 Industry Trends

Last week, BioWorld published a collection of the year's best biotech quotes. Pulling just a few from the list provides a pithy overview of the top trends affecting biotech in 2009:
  1. "Pharma wouldn't know a good opportunity if it hit them on the head with a baseball bat." You can attribute this to just about every biotech business development executive at some point during 2009, since big pharma wasn't buying biotech assets at anything near the pace people had expected. Chalk that up to a perfect storm caused by pharma's own cost pressures, overload created by too much supply, the bargain-hunter mentality that valuations might go even lower, mega-merger digestion, and other factors. By the way, the actual quote was said by Louis Scotti, vice president of marketing and business development for Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA), during the September 2009 BioPharm America conference.
  2. "Having money in the bank is more important than what people think about you." Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. analyst Juan Sanchez said this during the November 2009 Biocom Investor conference, when someone asked him about the negative stigma attached to reverse mergers. With the IPO window shut, reverse mergers provided a way for private companies to go public and get money during 2009, but their use sometimes sparked the wrath of investors who wanted public companies to liquidate and give back some cash.
  3. "Investors are happy because it's non-dilutive money, but if you look a few years down the road, assuming some of those products make it to market, it's probably the most dilutive funding I could get." This quote, said by Exelixis (EXEL) president and CEO George Scangos during the BioPharm conference, has to be one of the most thought-provoking ones of the year. Cash-strapped or not, companies that cut deals in 2009 often forked over significant interest in their products.
  4. "Right now the only thing slowing us down is money." This quote belongs to George Colberg, founder and chairman of Kalos Therapeutics, but did anyone not say this last year? Ironically, biotech companies raised far more money in 2009 than 2008 -- but much of it went to big names, widening the gap between the haves and have-nots. Also, the bulk came from follow-on offerings, while privately-held start-ups like Kalos suffered.
  5. "If I spent every day of my life looking at the stock price, I couldn't do my job." From Ron Cohen, president and CEO of Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR). Amen.
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