The Chicago Board Options Exchange and the American StockExchange said Friday that trading will begin Oct. 9 in the CBOEBiotech Index and the AMEX Biotechnology Index, pending theapproval of the Security and Exchange Commission.

Both indexes lost ground during Friday's session. The CBOEindex (BGX) fell 5.5 points to close at 134.43, and the AMEXindex (BTK) was off 4.97 to finish the week at 148.

At the close of trading two weeks ago, the CBOE index stood at141.97, and the AMEX reached 153.19.

The CBOE index will consist of 20 companies, 17 of which are onNASDAQ and three on the American. The AMEX index is basedon 15 of what it calls the most active developers and marketersof biological processes to treat health care problems.

The indexes also differ from one another in that the CBOE's isprice-weighted, while the AMEX has chosen an "equal-dollar"system. Kathy Fitzpatrick, manager of derivative securitiescommunication for the American Stock Exchange, said theequal-dollar system is intended to "provide a more-roundedmeasure of the whole industry. Equal-dollar weighting takesthe guesswork out of deciding which company will performbest. It is intended to avoid dominance by one company."

Joe Levin, vice president of research for the CBOE, said theprice-weighting system is "analogous to a price average. It isexactly the way the Dow Jones industrial average is calculated."

Levin said the CBOE index represents a "97 percent correlationwith the Oppenheimer and Fidelity Biotech mutual funds."

Amgen Inc., Biogen Inc., Centocor Inc., Chiron Corp., CytogenCorp., Enzon Inc., Gensia Pharmaceuticals Inc., Genzyme Corp.Greenwich Pharmaceuticals Inc. Immunex Corp., Liposome Co.Inc., Synergen and Xoma Corp. are included in both indexes.

The CBOE index also includes BioTech General Corp. Calgene,Epitope Inc., Immune Response Corp., Immunomedics Inc., IvaxCorp. and North American Vaccine.

The AMEX also includes Cambridge Biotech Corp. and SciosNova Inc.

-- Tom Lacey BioWorld Staff

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.