A look back at biotech in 2009

This year won't soon be forgotten in biotech circles. What started as a gut-wrenching financial disaster which quickly scuttled a slate of developers began to turn around last summer. By the end of the year some biotech companies were putting their toes into the public market waters to see whether they should dive in with an IPO. Other big outfits were able to report amazing progress. But it wasn't all good news. Slipping at the proof-of-concept stage can still be a near fatal experience and not every deal done in the last six months was completed at a premium.

I've broken down what I view as the year's Top Five stories in biotech below. I'm struck by just how positive the outlook is now compared to where we started the year. Nothing is ever perfect, of course. But looking ahead, 2010 holds plenty of promise. Meanwhile, with the holidays here the FierceBiotech team is taking a break. I'll be continuing to highlight top breaking stories online, but our next newsletter is scheduled for January 4. - John Carroll

1. Economic disaster followed by a revival in share prices

2. Dealmaking reaches fever pitch at year's end

3. Big Pharma upends its R&D empires

4. The genetic revolution takes aim at the pipeline

5. Congress prepares to deliver for biotechnology