NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 02/19/13 -- A sharp increase in drug approvals and mergers and acquisitions combined to create a bull market for the Biotechnology Industry in 2012. The iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB), the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) and the First Trust Amex Biotechnology Index ETF (FBT) have all gained over 20 percent in the past year, outperforming the broader markets by a good margin. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Biotech Industry and provides equity research on Opko Health Inc. (NYSE: OPK) and Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOR).
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Bloomberg recently reported drug approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reached a 15 year high in 2012. The FDA approved a total of 39 novel medicines last year, an increase of 30 percent when compared to a year ago. Oncology drugs lead the way with 11 new drugs approved last year. Over the last ten years the number of FDA approvals had averaged roughly 23 a year. The passage of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) played a major role in the sharp increase in approvals.
The PDUFA "has provided critical resources for improving the quality and timeliness of premarket review of drugs," said FDA spokeswoman, Sandy Walsh. "These accomplishments could not have been achieved without the innovations of the biopharmaceutical industry and the dedication and skill of FDA's drug review staff."
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OPKO Health is a multi-national pharmaceutical and diagnostics company that develops solutions to diagnose, treat and prevent various conditions, including molecular diagnostics tests, point-of-care tests, and pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Its lead program is a molecular diagnostics platform for the development and commercialization of blood-based tests for conditions.
Questcor Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of patients with serious, difficult-to-treat autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. The company's specific areas of focus are in the fields of neurology and nephrology. Questcor is scheduled to release results for the fourth quarter and full year 2012 on Tuesday, February 26th.
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