Burrill: Biopharma no longer a shelter in the storm

Once upon a time, says biotech handicapper and investor G. Steven Burrill, biopharma stocks offered shelter during a market storm. Now, they're getting doused along with everybody else.

"At one time, in periods of economic uncertainty, investors would move into the relative safety of biotech and pharma," said the high-profile Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Company. "However, this is no longer the case and for the foreseeable future biotech's fortunes will be linked with the performance of the broader capital markets."

Burrill took a decidedly downbeat tone in his latest monthly review of the market for biotech stocks. Just about all the big biotech stocks were down in May, with Aeterna Zentaris bucking the trend on the back of a positive opinion from the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products for its new ovarian cancer drug. All the blue chip biotech stocks were down as investors took flight in the wake of a European economic crisis.

While the UK's GenMark Diagnostics completed its IPO last month, new biotech offerings have been floundering. Of the eight new IPOs this year, all are down from their IPO price, with the exception of Ironwood, which finished May at $11.74, a mere four percent ahead of where it started.

- here's the release from Burrill