Amgen Report Could Prompt Closing of Genentech Gap

The 2nd quarter earnings report from biotech giant Amgen (AMGN) issued Tuesday night was a blowout, no question about it. With much of the biotech acclaim going to Genentech (DNA) in recent years, AMGN has flown under the radar and now investors are clammering to catch up. In fact, the stock is up $10 today to $80 per share. However, even with today’s run-up does Amgen still represent relative value in the biotechnology sector?

I would have to answer “yes” to that question, even though I would wait for a dip before buying any shares. Genentech trades at 52 times 2006 earnings against just 22 times for Amgen. Not to say that these multiples should be identical, but such a discepency most likely reflects an overly optimistic view on DNA and fairly lackluster sentiment surrounding Amgen. I see no reason why Amgen should garner less than 25 times earnings given its strong drug pipeline and 15% growth rate.