There’s nothing more potentially rewarding right now than a visionary biotech company poised for explosive gains on the basis of a ground-breaking drug, medical device or procedure.
Large-cap or small-cap, this is the definitive year of biotech, and these five picks are all set for big things in 2017—with momentous catalysts that promise massive future earnings if you get in at the right time.
Our Top 5 Biotech Picks Right Now:
#1 Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN)
Amgen is the top biotech company in the U.S., with a market cap of $132.41 billion--and it’s releasing the results of a key clinical study on Friday, 17 March. The study is for LDL cholesterol-buster Repatha, and it’s expected to show the ability to reduce heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease.
Preliminary data from the study has already been released.
Repatha already has approval to reduce bad cholesterol, and in doing so it is competing against Praluent, developed by Regeneron and Sanofi. This could be explosive, but it’s not without its controversy. So far though, it’s been good news for Amgen because a judge has ruled that Praluent infringes on Amgen’s patents for Repatha. Praluent is appealing, but for now there’s an injunction on the drug.
Repatha (and Praluent) block an enzyme that degrades receptors responsible for removing bad cholesterol from the blood stream. This is a potentially $5-billion global market over the next five years, and in the U.S. alone we’re looking at a market of some 5 million patients potentially.
Amgen’s shares have jumped 23.8% this year so far, putting it at a higher share price increase than its peers in the industry.
So with uptake of Repatha already approved by the FDA in the summer of 2015, and the full study for wider use set to be released with positive results on Friday, what’s been a great year so far for Amgen is about to get even better.
CVR Medical’s Carotid Stenotic Scan (CSS) is a potentially ground-breaking innovation designed to detect Ischemia—the leading indicator of stroke—in only 2 minutes, and for a price that makes pre-stroke intervention affordable and accessible for the first time ever.
This little-known, visionary biotech company is gearing up to release its new medical device soon, with preliminary trial results due any day, and full clinical results to follow 4-8 weeks after that. That’s when we expect the breakout.
This device fills an urgent medical market gap. It could help save six million lives a year—or a life every 4 minutes.
Globally, every year 15 million people suffer a stroke. In the U.S. alone, nearly 800,000 people suffer from a stroke annually. One out of every 20 deaths in America is caused by stroke, and until now, there has been no cost-effective way to screen for the leading indicator of Ischemic strokes, which cost the U.S. government alone over 30 billion dollars a year in healthcare expenses.
The patented technology is positioned to own this huge market segment. A CSS unit costs roughly $49,000, and over 230,000 medical facilities in the U.S. alone could potentially want the device. Globally the demand could be huge.
The visionary team has invested $23 million in development, and the best part is that they’ve done it quietly and stayed off the radar. This is a huge deal for potential investors who can get in on the ground floor of one of the biggest potential new medical device breakouts in a decade.
Once the clinical results are in, the next step is FDA clearance, and then we expect this device to explode on the market.
#3 Cara Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:CARA)
This $425.39M market cap company is on the verge of a breakout in the multi-billion-dollar painkiller market, which was at $11 billion in 2014 and building at a steady pace since.
Pain relief is one of the biggest and broadest ongoing medical challenges of our time, and it’s a problem that has led to unprecedented opiate addiction. An estimated 26.4 million to 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide, according to the U.S. government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 2.4 million people suffer from substance use disorders related to opioid pain relievers. In 2015, over 47,000 Americans died from drug overdoses—61% of the cases involving opioids. An estimated 47,000 Americans are addicted to heroin.
Cara is targeting opioids—the most heavily abused class of drugs in the country—with a new drug that is designed to avoid the central nervous system, stopping pain but not acting like an addictive narcotic. Right now the drug is specifically targeting 3 million Americans who suffer from kidney disease-related itching.
The company is developing the abuse-deterrent CR845 and expects to reveal data by the end of March from a trial that will pave the way for a second trial to supports its FDA application. The specific target is just the beginning of what could be a huge long-term winner.
If this is successful, expect a breakout—and investors are already on to the possibility. Cara has seen its stock jump over 200% in the past year.
#4 Clovis Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:CLVS)
With a market cap of $3.21 billion, Clovis is a monster in the biotech market, but it’s also trading like a monster, with stock prices exploding in price and volume this year.
Clovis acquires, develops and commercializing anti-cancer agents primarily in the U.S. and Europe, but also elsewhere globally.
Clovis has a PARP inhibitor called Rucaparib, which was recently approved by the FDA. It’s also got two other product candidates: 1) Rociletinib, an oral epidermal growth factor receptor, mutant-selective covalent inhibitor under review in both the U.S. and Europe, for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer; 2) Lucitanib, an oral inhibitor of the tyrosine kinase activity of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors.
But it’s Rucaparib—an oral inhibitor for the treatment of ovarian cancer—that is in the advanced stage of clinical development, and what everyone is watching right now.
The biggest push came last week with positive trial results from AstraZeneca’s (AZN) ovarian cancer drug trial, which means good news for Clovis’ drug trial. So much so in fact that it prompted Goldman Sachs to raise its price target on Clovis from $44 to a whopping $75. But that’s only in the short term—analysts see $85 as the next target.
Clovis has insider ownership of 17.40% and institutional ownership of 88.48%.
#5 Mylan N.V. (NASDAQ, TASE: MYL)
Mylan is the largest supplier of cancer medicines by volume in the U.S., with a $22.7 billion market cap.
This generic drugmaker has had a tough year because of a legal battle with Roche, but that was settled this week, paving the way for the launch of a generic version of a top-selling breast cancer drug, Herceptin in major markets. Roche’s Herceptin generated sales of $6.7 billion in 2016 alone, so the generic version by Mylan is set to explode onto this market and drive future growth.
For Mylan, the settlement of the patent dispute with Roche means it can secure the global license for its rival version, which is generically known as trastuzumab. Mylan is already selling this generic version in 14 emerging markets, and it’s been submitted for approval in Europe and the U.S.
This is a huge catalyst that should be on any sophisticated investor radar in the biotech field.
And it’s not the only catalyst. On 13 March, Mylan launched Exemestane Tablets in the U.S. after receiving final FDA approval—a generic version of Pfizer’s Aromasin® Tablets, for treatment of certain types of breast cancer in women after menopause. This adds nicely to the already significant oncology franchise, and Exemestane is expected to see $100 million in U.S. sales for 2017.
If you’ve bought shares in any of these stocks last year, you’ll be happy today because recent highs have been cosmic, and coming highs even more explosive.
A few more biotech gems that make our honorable mentions list—and they’re cheaper than ever before:
• Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB)
This major player’s stocks are down 30% from its high a couple of years ago, but there’s plenty of reason to be bullish.
• Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG)
There’s quite a bit of upside to the large-cap player, which is considered a fairly low risk and could yield some ‘blockbuster’ drugs.
• AEterna Zentaris Inc. (TSX:AEZ)
AEterna just finished the clinical phase of their development of Zoptrex™
• Bellus Health Inc. (TSX:BLU)
This company has seen nice gains over the past five sessions.
• Trillium Therapeutics Inc. (TSX:TR)
This company has plenty of catalysts, and Janus Capital Management LLC just raised its position in shares.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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