Big Pharma, Bigger Overhangs


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Brenton Flynn: If you're maybe a little too hesitant to jump into the realm of biotech, given the massive risks, then these are the places where you can go and potentially achieve pretty considerable upside because AbbVie, Eli Lilly, and AstraZeneca are, in many respects, more speculative big pharma plays -- where pipeline successes and failures are going to have a disproportionate impact on where the shares go -- as opposed to some of your stalwarts that already have a pretty strong stable of drugs like Johnson & Johnson, which is more diversified, but also has a lot of strong phase 3 drugs that look like they're going to get approved, as well as some newcomers, Novo Nordisk and companies like that.

David Williamson: I think it's important to say, too, all three of these companies have really good balance sheets and decent cash hordes, so if they want to go out and throw money at the problem and make some acquisitions, they can do that. That's on the table.

You can solve this problem. We've seen Gilead bought Pharmasset for $11 billion. That's a huge purchase, but it looks like it's really going to transform that company. Bristol-Myers bought Inhibitex; that blew up in their face. They lost $2.5 billion

There is risk, but you can try to throw money at the problem and, if your drugs aren't developing fast enough or you're having some issues, that's a way to go about it.

Brenton: Yeah, and I say the word "speculative," but that's a relative term. Obviously nowhere near as speculative as stocks like the many we've seen this weekend that have fallen 50% in a single day.

In any case, certainly overhanging risks, even in big pharma stocks. Thanks for watching, and Fool on!

David: Fool on!

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Brenton Flynn and David Williamson haveno positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Gilead Sciences and Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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