GT’s May 2001 cover story examined whether tool- or discovery-based companies would do better. Money managers shared their split views, and the most common examples of success used were Affymetrix, Applied Biosystems, Human Genome Sciences, and Millennium Pharmaceuticals. A year later, stock performance shows that investors are still weighing in on the tools-versus-targets debate.
Each of the four companies’ stock prices peaked last June and declined afterward, although Affy’s fell most precipitously. The companies were similarly affected by the September 11 tumble, but had rebounded by the New Year. ABI recovered most strongly, hitting peak prices in January, and at press time its shares were just below their year-ago value. The same is true for Millennium and Affy, but HGS is at half the price it commanded last May.
Meanwhile, in his IT Guy column, Nat Goodman investigated the promise of the bioinformatics industry, wondering what it would take to make a successful company. One of the problems he pointed out was the limited size of the current market and its potential for growth. Cases in point: both Entigen and DoubleTwist closed their doors recently due to lack of cash, and their assets are on the block.