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Infographic – Biotech Index Decline Continues

NBI chart

Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, 1 Jan. to 18 Oct. 2019. Click on image for full-size view. (Nasdaq)

19 Oct. 2019. We check in from time to time on the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, or NBI, to assess the overall health of a key industry we follow on Science & Enterprise. Overall, the NBI is in decline since reaching its peak for the year in the spring, erasing all of the gains for the year at the beginning of October, as seen in this weekend’s infographic.

The index of 223 biotech companies trading on the Nasdaq started 2019 recovering from a slump, opening at 3,044 on 2 January. The NBI continued a strong recovery, however, rising some 19 percent to 3,619 on 1 March and almost matching that number on 5 April. The index then began its decline to 3,139 at the end of May. A rally over the month of June took NBI to 3,485 on 2 July, but since then declined to 3,053 on 2 October, almost the same level as when the year began.

The index rallied somewhat over the past two weeks, closing on Friday 18 October at 3,214. While that’s still a 5.6 percent gain for the year, it represents an 11.2 loss since the 1 March peak for 2019. For comparison, the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 21.4 percent for the year-to-date, while declining 2.9 percent from the year’s peak on 26 July.

As we reported on Monday, biotechnology remained a hot investment target for venture capital through the third quarter of 2019. But the number of venture deals and investment volumes overall are down for the year. In addition, the pharmaceutical and agribusiness industries — funders of biotech companies with licensing and investments — face costly legal challenges, compounded by the global economic concerns of Brexit and an economic slowdown in China.

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