Solid performance of BB BIOTECH's assets

Thursday, 24. April 2008 07:30
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Quarterly Report as at March 31, 2008
 
During a very turbulent first quarter 2008 in the financial markets,
BB BIOTECH's portfolio companies performed well, supporting a strong
performance for BB BIOTECH's Net Asset Value (NAV), which showed an
increase of 13% in USD terms. BB BIOTECH's assets continued to
significantly outperform the general markets - for example, the
NASDAQ biotech index was down 6% during the quarter. However, BB
BIOTECH's share price was more impacted by the market turmoil than
the underlying assets and closed at CHF 76, down 11%.
 
BB BIOTECH's strategy of focusing its investments on companies with
clinical proof of concept data continues to produce gratifying
results. Development and registration of new drugs remains
challenging for all companies and only innovative medications can
pass registration thresholds, achieve adequate reimbursement and
successful market launches. At the same time, monitoring and
management of drug safety has become increasingly critical for
success. We believe several of our investments are in companies,
including Actelion, Celgene, Biogen Idec and Elan Pharmaceuticals,
which have developed sophisticated processes and systems to cope with
these challenges.
 
We expect hurdles for proof of efficacy, safety and economic value
will continue to be raised. We will reinforce our strategy of
investing in companies which offer strong skills and processes
combined with strong clinical data from innovative new medicines.
 
During the quarter, Celgene, Genentech, Actelion and Gilead performed
well and achieved positive share price performance, both in USD and
in CHF.
 
Celgene shares rebounded during the reporting period, driven by
strong financial results and increased investor visibility related to
the strong clinical profile of its key product Revlimid. Genentech
reported positive news from its key product Avastin, which achieved
approval for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer in the US, an
important expansion of Avastin's label. Our core holding Gilead also
achieved strong performance based on the excellent clinical profile
of its core products. In particular, clinical studies suggested
additional advantages of Gilead's drugs compared to competing
products.
 
One of our smaller investments, Keryx Pharmaceuticals, suffered a
major setback when a Phase III trial of its lead candidate product
Sulodexide did not confirm the promising results from previous Phase
II trials.
 
On April 3, 2008, we completed our fourth share buy back program. At
our annual shareholders meeting on April 4, it was decided to cancel
these shares and to start a fifth share buy back program, in order to
keep BB BIOTECH's share price close to its NAV.
 
We look forward to the second quarter 2008, as we anticipate
important clinical results from a number of our portfolio companies.
We believe that a number of companies currently carry very attractive
valuations and we will continue to manage and search for the most
valuable investments on your behalf.
 
 
This is the composition of BB BIOTECHs' Portfolio as at March 31,
2008:
 

CORE HOLDINGS  
Actelion 27.8%
Celgene 16.8%
Gilead 15.3%
Genentech 14.0%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals 6.5%
   
SMALL PARTICIPATIONS  
Elan 4.1%
Biogen Idec 3.5%
Roche Holding GS 3.1%
Zymogenetics 2.1%
Affymetrix 1.9%
The Medicines Company 1.1%
NicOx 0.8%
BioXell 0.6%
Incyte 0.5%
Jerini 0.5%
Rigel Pharmaceuticals 0.4%
Arena Pharmaceuticals 0.4%
Optimer Pharmaceuticals 0.2%
Epigenomics 0.1%
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals <0.1%
Acambis <0.1%
   
Genentech call options (long) 0.1%
Actelion call options (short) <(0.1%)
Actelion call options (short) <(0.1%)
Celgene call options (short) <(0.1%)
Biogen Idec call options (short) <(0.1%)
SWAP agreement on own shares 0.2%
   
Total securities CHF 1 837.1 mn
   
Liquid funds (net) CHF (137.4) mn
Other assets  CHF 22.1 mn
Other payables CHF (113.4) mn
   
Total shareholder's equity CHF 1 608.4 mn
Treasury shares (in % of company) 19.2%

 
The quarterly report is available on www.bbbiotech.com.
 
For further information please contact:
Bellevue Asset Management AG, Seestrasse 16, 8700 Kusnacht,
Switzerland
Christian Lach, Tel. +41 44 267 67 10
 



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BB BIOTECH AG
Vordergasse 3 Schaffhausen Switzerland

WKN: 888509;
ISIN: CH0001441580; Index: SBIOM, IGSP, SLIFE;
Listed: Investment Companies in SWX Swiss Exchange;
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