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Biotech Mailbag 2008 Review

Stocks in this article: GILD DLN AMGN

I went back and re-read all the Biotech Mailbag columns written in 2008 and was amazed to see that I wrote about 65 different biotech companies this year, many of them several times.

My thanks and gratitude go out to all the readers who emailed questions and comments this year. The Biotech Mailbag would be rather anemic if it weren't for your passion and curiosity.

The Mailbag in 2008 had its share of hits and misses. I managed to please a lot of you; others couldn't stand some of the things I wrote and let me know it in no uncertain terms.

Elan (ELN) received more play in the Mailbag this year than any other stock, mainly due to my ongoing (and quite skeptical) coverage of the company's experimental Alzheimer's disease drug bapineuzumab. The "Elanians" -- followers and fans of Elan -- are a vocal bunch, for sure.

I made some stock calls this year in the Mailbag. Some worked, others didn't.

Readers and I had a multi-Mailbag debate over the approvability of Vanda Pharmaceuticals' (VNDA) schizophrenia drug iloperidone. Many readers were optimistic about FDA approval. I wasn't, mainly because iloperidone seemed like a "me-too" drug with poorer safety and worse side effects. In the end, the FDA chose not to approve the drug.

Earlier in the year, I highlighted Middlebrook Pharmaceuticals (MBRK) because I thought an acquisition of the company would double the stock price. That takeout never happened. Bad call.

I also thought that Cardiome (CRME) and its partner Astellas would be successful in getting their anti-arrhythmia drug Kynapid approved by the FDA, even through a year's worth of regulatory delays. To date, Kynapid is still not approved.

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