BOSTON (TheStreet) -- It's report card time. I've been going back over a year's worth of biotech columns to assess my hits and misses for 2014.
Contradicting my reputation as a single-minded biotech stock "basher," I did well with bullish calls this year.
My prediction for a positive outcome from the traffic/transport studies of Vertex Pharma's (VRTX) cystic fibrosis combination therapy: Nailed. My subsequent explanation for why Vertex could still be considered undervalued. Correct.
I preached patience and faith in Chelsea Therapeutics' ability to convince an FDA advisory panel to recommend the approval of Northera. Sure enough, Chelsea got the positive vote it sought as the FDA approved Northera and then Chelsea was acquired by Lundbeck. Home run.
MannKind (MNKD) was definitely one of the more controversial and volatile stocks in 2014. My calls were mixed.
Last January, I gave MannKind's Afrezza 60-40 odds of being rejected by the FDA based on my call that the advisory panel would vote against the inhaled insulin device. I was wrong. The panel voted to recommend Afrezza's approval, and the FDA followed suit.
MannKind bulls won the Afrezza approval battle but bears are winning the more important war over the company's stock price. The market value of MannKind is down -- way down -- since Afrezza's approval at the end of June. As I warned readers correctly, MannKind's balance sheet was (and still is) a ticking time bomb. Even the marketing partnership with Sanofi was no panacea.
I've long derided Avanir Pharma (AVNR) for selling reformulated cough syrup, but I ended the year laughing and crying when Otsuka bought the company for $3.5 billion. Avanir was one of the top-performing bio-pharma stocks of the year. Kick me.
Galena Biopharma (GALE) was best small-cap biotech blow-up of the year. Everyone giggled at the unfolding DreamTeam Group stock-touting scandal, unless you were one of the unfortunate shareholders/bagholders who didn't heed my many warnings.