Biotech stocks are off to the best start of the year since 2012 on heels of J.P. Morgan conference - (CNBC via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The iShares Nasdaq Biotech Index gained 13 percent in the first eight trading days of 2018, marking the best start for the sector since 2012, CNBC reported Friday.

  • The rally has been fuelled by takeover speculation, which comes after Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to buy Celgene for $74 billion and Eli Lilly inked a deal to acquire Loxo Oncology for $8 billion.

  • The stock surge was also boosted by positive clinical trial results for key investigational therapies, including an experimental depression drug under development by Sage Therapeutics.

  • Meanwhile, shares in Amarin jumped 39 percent on January 10 after CEO John Thero issued a more bullish outlook for the heart therapy Vascepa.

  • "Although nothing new was presented…the sentiment was positive from those investors we spoke with who attended the meeting," commented Cantor Fitzgerald analysts, adding "cardiologists in particular are appreciating the data and moving to prescribe Vascepa to patients."

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