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Biotech 2013 by the Numbers: A Blockbuster Year


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Hello, 2014! Before we crack open the new year, let's close the books on what was a very big 2013 in biotech investing.

And yes, investors did very well in biotech in 2013. This chart says it all:

IBB Chart
IBB data by YCharts

In a year where the markets outperformed, the biotech sector performed even better, posting returns not seen since 1999. Phenomenal. No wonder we saw a huge influx of generalist investors into healthcare stocks in 2013.

I'm a skeptic and always nagging readers about risk, so you know I have to point out something for biotech investors to worry about.

Biotech stocks underperformed the S&P 500 in the fourth quarter:

IBB Chart
IBB data by YCharts

Biotech stocks rallied in December but the significant selling in October could not be overcome.

Generic drug maker Lannett Co.  (LCI) was the sector's top-performing stock, with a return of 567%. Here's what that looks like in chart form:

LCI Chart
LCI data by YCharts

The rest of the Top 10:

Chelsea Therapeutics  (CHTP) 484%
Inovio Pharma  (INO) 481%
Puma Biotech  (PBYI) 452%
Acadia Pharma  (ACAD) 437%
BioCryst Pharma  (BCRX) 435%
Idera Pharma  (IDRA)420%
Arrowhead Research  (ARWR) 407%
Gentium  (GENT) 403%
Insys Therapeutics  (INSY) 400%

A single biotech and drug stock (Lannett) posted a six-fold bump in share price this year. Nine stocks increased in value by five times, 3 stocks quadrupled in value and 26 stocks tripled in value, according to S&P CapitalIQ.

Not all biotech and drug stocks fared so well in 2013: The biggest losers were:

Celsion  (CLSN) -89%
Aastrom Biosciences  (ASTM) -87%
Cardium Therapeutics  (CXM) -78%
Cel-Sci  (CVM) -78%
Aveo Pharma  (AVEO) -77%

Enjoy New Year's Day. Tomorrow, we'll get started covering biotech 2014.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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