TORONTO — Longtime biotech investment banker Steven Burrill blamed problems in two companies in part for the sharp decline in industry stocks early this spring, predicted the market would rebound later this year, and named systems biology as the most profitable area of biotech research and business in the future.

Burrill — CEO of Burrill & Company of San Francisco — said that investor concern over Securities and Exchange Commission investigations into Dublin-based Elan and New York-based Imclone Systems prompted a rapid drop in the overall value of biotech shares, which a string of Phase III trial failures intensified. "By the middle of January, the bubble had burst," Burrill told participants at the BIO 2002 annual convention in Toronto. The convention attracted 15,000 scientists, biotech leaders and investors. "We've moved from a healthy financial environment to a basically ugly financial environment. We have lost 50% of our value since January...

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