Personal Finance > Investing
In Focus: Celera, biotechs
February 12, 2001: 3:48 p.m. ET

CIBC World Markets' biotech analyst on publishing of human genome map
graphic graphic
NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Biotech stocks soared Monday as two versions of the architectural plans for the human genome were published, giving researchers access to the groundbreaking information and initiating a race to develop new drugs based on it.

On Monday, Celera Genomics and the Human Genome Project, an international consortium of scientists, were each expected to release their own version of the book of life.

Matt Geller, biotech analyst for CIBC World Markets spoke earlier today on CNNfn's In Focus about the impact of this on the biotech sector.

In Focus airs daily on CNNfn's network at 12:10 p.m. The following includes comments made both during the show and in the pre-show interview.

CNNfn: Are biotech stocks moving at all on the latest human genome news?

graphicGeller: The sector just took off. It had started weak, now it looks strong, it's up 2.5 percent already (as of 10:30 a.m. ET).

CNNfn: What can we expect for the sector in the coming weeks?

Geller: I think we've come through earnings season pretty well. Amgen (AMGN: Research, Estimates)'s quarter was ok -- leadership is pretty good The sector has been decimated recently, but I believe value is up -- prices are down. Last time we had genome news, the stock went up in advance in anticipation; that hasn't happened here this time So there is a good opportunity to get in at low prices.

CNNfn: Biotech is traditionally a long-term investment strategy. Does the latest mapping news change this? When can investors expect to reap the fruit of this news?

Geller: I disagree that it's always a long-term play. There are a lot of products that are going to be approved this year in the sector. There are more companies that are short-term plays than people think.

As for the mapping of the human genome, a company like Celera Genomics (CRA: Research, Estimates) is already selling their database. While drug development based on the mapping will come later, there are still the short-term opportunities presented by selling information.

CNNfn: What type of drugs or graphicadvances can consumers expect?

Geller: Drugs and advances stemming from the human genome mapping will come over time. In the sector, however, great products are being released this year, such as Xolair for allergies. Great genomics products are being launched as well.

-- as reported by Katie Connorton  graphic

* Disclaimer