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Biotech Industry Soars in 2012 as FDA Drug Approvals Reach a 15-Year High

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 27, 2013) - 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 Arrowhead Research Corp. ( NASDAQ : ARWR ) and MediciNova, Inc. ( NASDAQ : MNOV ).

Access to the full company reports can be found at:
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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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Shares of Arrowhead Research were sent soaring Tuesday after announcing a publication of data that showed its RNAi-based candidate, ARC-520, has the potential to treat chronic hepatitis B virus infection. "These data suggest that ARC-520 could be a powerful therapy for chronic HBV infection, a disease with 350 million infected people worldwide and no cure. We are on schedule to file with regulatory authorities next quarter to begin first-in-human studies" said Dr. Christopher Anzalone, President and CEO.

MediciNova's current strategy is to focus on its two prioritized product candidates, MN-221, for the treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations, and ibudilast (MN-166) for neurological disorders. The company has recently announced that MN-166 has been granted Fast Track designation by the FDA for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence.

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