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Five Drug Stock Winners of 2011

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The biotech sector proved once again in 2011 that picking the right stocks to own (or trade) produced outsized profits.

Eleven biotech stocks more than doubled their value this year, producing returns well in excess of the 7% performance of the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index. The S&P 500 is down 3% this year.

Here are the five biggest drug-stock winners of 2011:

No. 5: Pharmacyclics (PCYC - Get Report)

Investors who clued into the potential of Pharmacyclics' experimental B-cell lymphoma drug PCI-32765 last year were rewarded big time this year when Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) paid handsomely to secure licensing rights to the drug in December.

The stock: Pharmacyclics is up 140% this year through Dec. 16. The stock's performance this year, particularly two strong runs in the spring and late fall, illustrate how investors love to buy biotech stocks ahead of big drug research meetings.

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