Chicago-based investment adviser Morningstar has increased its fair value estimates for BioMarin Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: BRMN) stock to $71 per share from $59.

After reassessing its long-term growth assumptions about BioMarin, the report specifically cites the company's product pipeline, noting that despite reporting increased research and development costs that will prevent BioMarin from breaking even until 2014, it's "confident in the profit-generating power" of BioMarin's forthcoming rare-disease treatments.

The report notes that BioMarin's second drug, Naglazyme, saw global sales increase 14 percent, surpassing $250 million in 2012 and on track to approach $300 million in 2013. The success of the drug, which treats MPS VI, a metabolic disorder caused by a lack of or malfunctioning enzymes needed to break down molecules, has earned BioMarin comparisons with Genzyme, now a part of phrama giant Sonofi NY, according to Morningstar.

BioMarin's third drug approval could be its most promising yet, according to the report. Kuvan is approved to treat mild to moderate Phenylketonuria, or PKU, a rare condition in which a baby is born without the ability to properly break down certain types of amino acids.  Unlike other rare diseases, PKU is diagnosed more frequently because of state-mandated newborn screening programs.

Another promising product is the development of Vimizin, or GALNS, which entered phase III clinical trial at the start of 2011 and is on track for FDA approval later this year. The drug treats Morquia A syndrome, an inherited metabolic disease that can cause skeletal and joint abnormalities.  It's thought that approval of GALNS could double BioMarin's sales, from current $500 million to $1 billion.

In general, BioMarin's "early stage pipeline is rapidly moving toward late clinical trials," according to Morningstar. 

BioMarin's deep pipeline and rising stock -- shares have increased from about $26 in April 2011 to about $65 currently -- has led to speculation that the company is an acquisition target. The company said earlier this year that is was approached by a would-be suitor, but fended off any deal.***

BioCision, a developer of products used to eliminate variability in lab procedures based in Larkspur, recently announced a collaboration with ATCC, a Virginia-based provider of biomaterials for research.

BioCision primarily targets industries including biotech, pharmaceutical, clinical, diagnostic, academic and government scientific communities, with products used to improve research and development of new drugs in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, academic and health care industries.

Through this collaboration, ATCC, a nonprofit biological research center, will distribute a line of advanced storage and handling products developed by BioCision to researchers around the world.

The first product developed in this collaboration is a cell cryopreservation container called CoolCell LX. In addition to distributing the new line of products, ATCC will also update all of its cell-freezing protocols, which are widely used as the industry standard in global biomaterials research, to recommend the use of CoolCell LX containers.

BioCision’s CoolProduct devices are specially designed and engineered to achieve temperature uniformity when cooling, freezing, thawing, and handling biomedical samples, ensuring reproducible temperature profiles and instantly standardizing temperature-sensitive lab procedures. All ATCC cell-freezing protocols are being updated to recommend the use of CoolCell LX containers to maintain the optimal controlled freezing rate when cryopreserving a variety of cells and cell lines for archival storage.***

College of Marin held its annual scholarship awards ceremony, awarding a total of $44,470 to 78 students. The average award amount was $500, with the largest award of $2,300 coming from the Louis W. Dessauer Scholarship fund. a total of 143 students applied.***

Marin County's luxury home market has been churning strongly since the worst of the housing crisis, with the number of sales up 56 percent in April versus the same period in 2012, according to a monthly housing report compiled by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Examining Multiple Listing Service data for homes sold for over $1 million in Marin County, the brokerage found that a total of 111 luxury homes sold in April. Meanwhile, the median sale price was down 12.8 percent from the prior year, now at $1.42 million.

There was a 28.6 percent increase in the number of homes sold above $2 million, with 27 sales in April. Homes sold in an average of 72 days, and sellers received more of their asking price -- 100.6 percent, versus 98.4 percent one year ago....

Submit items for this column to Staff Writers Eric Gneckow at eric.gneckow@busjrnl.com or Dan Verel at dverel@busjrnl.com.