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By Bert Wilkison

Below is a list of five strong biotechs with great future prospects that have delivered positive earnings surprises recently, and are certainly worth a look.

1. Biogen Idec, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB)

EPS From Earnings Surprise: $1.50

Biogen Idec uses cutting edge science to discover, develop, manufacture and market biological products for the treatment of serious diseases with a focus on neurological disorders. It claims to be the world's oldest independent biotechnology company, and is a Fortune 500 company, with more than $4 billion in revenues.

Its stock currently trades around $121.50 with 238.73M shares out, giving it a market cap of $29.15B. Institutional ownership stands at 87%, and the total reported short interest as of 01/13/12 was 2.32M shares. The consensus analyst 12-month price target is $129.50, with the highest estimate being $137.

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Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN)

2. EPS From Earnings Surprise: $1.16

Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers innovative human therapeutics. As a leader in biotechnology since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe, effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient.

Its stock currently trades around $69 with 796M shares out, giving it a market cap of $54.70B. Institutional ownership stands at 89% and the total reported short interest as of 01/13/12 was 17.90M shares. The consensus analyst 12-month price target is $71, with the highest estimate being $78.

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Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ:CELG)

3. EPS From Earnings Surprise: $0.97

Celgene is a global biopharmaceutical company committed to improving the lives of patients worldwide. It has more than 300 clinical trials at major medical centers using its various compounds. Investigational compounds are being studied for patients with incurable hematological and solid tumor cancers, including multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, chronic lymphocyte leukemia [CLL], non-Hodgkin's lymphoma [NHL], myelofibrosis, small cell lung cancer and prostate cancer.

Its stock currently trades around $73 with 437M shares out, giving it a market cap of $31.91B. Institutional ownership stands at 87%, and the total reported short interest as of 01/13/12 was 9.16M shares. The consensus analyst 12-month price target is $84.50, with the highest estimate being $102.

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4. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD)

EPS From Earnings Surprise: $0.92

For more than two decades, Gilead Sciences has worked to discover, develop and commercialize medications to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases in areas of unmet medical need. Its primary areas of focus include HIV/AIDS, liver disease and serious cardiovascular/metabolic and respiratory conditions.

Its stock currently trades around $55.40 with 753.11M shares out, giving it a market cap of $41.71B. Institutional ownership stands at 88% and the total reported short interest as of 01/13/12 was 13.83M shares. The consensus analyst 12-month price target is $60, with the highest estimate being $67.

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5. Qiagen NV (NASDAQ:QGEN)

EPS From Earnings Surprise: $0.29

Qiagen is a leading provider of sample and assay technologies. Sample technologies are used to isolate DNA, RNA and proteins from any biological sample. Assay technologies are then used to make specific target biomolecules, such as the DNA of a specific virus, visible for subsequent analysis. It has developed and marketed more than 500 consumable products and automated solutions.

Its stock currently trades around $15.65 with 234.22M shares out, giving it a market cap of $3.66B. Institutional ownership stands at just 43% and the total reported short interest as of 01/13/12 was 6.74M shares. The consensus analyst 12-month price target is $16.50, with the highest estimate being $19.50.

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Source: 5 Solid Biotechs That Have Delivered Positive Earnings Surprises Recently