Top Biotech Stocks To Own Right Now

Biotech stocks are known for dramatic gains, and this year’s top performers are helping the industry live up to its reputation. Investors excited about the future of gene therapy have seen CRISPR Therapeutics AG (NASDAQ:CRSP) more than quadruple its shareholders’ money over the past year.

The gene-editing stock has put up a dazzling performance, but it pales in comparison to Endocyte Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNS) and Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ARWR), which have absolutely exploded lately. Let’s look at what’s next for these high-flying biotech stocks to see if any have a shot at climbing further.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Endocyte Inc.: Waiting for a Vision 

Shares of this precommercial biotech have risen a spectacular 807% over the past year as investors become increasingly confident about its new lead candidate’s chances. The radioactive cancer treatment called Lu-PSMA-617 recently began a pivotal trial called Vision that will test its ability to increase overall survival for prostate cancer patients that have run out of treatment options.

Top Biotech Stocks To Own Right Now: Biogen Idec Inc(BIIB)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Cory Renauer]

    Healthcare is something that people need no matter what’s happening in the economy, so the sector is full of great stocks for investors seeking steadily growing income streams. That said, Abiomed, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABMD), Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB), and Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC) are three popular healthcare stocks that would make horrible additions to a retirement portfolio.

  • [By Todd Campbell]

    Unfortunately for investors, June’s discovery wasn’t exciting enough for Sangamo partners Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) and Shire (NASDAQ:SHPG). In 2015, Biogen announced a delay to its beta-thalassemia and sickle-cell disease treatment program with Sangamo. And then Shire, a Sangamo collaboration partner since 2012, walked away from Sangamo’s hemophilia program.

  • [By Brian Orelli]

    Data source: Ionis Pharmaceuticals.

    What happened with Ionis Pharmaceuticals this quarter?
    Royalties from Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) for sales of Spinraza came in at $57 million, more than double the year-ago quarter. The rest of the revenue comes from research and development revenue, which can vary from quarter to quarter due to milestone payments. In July, Ionis’ marketing partner Akcea Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AKCA) received EU approval for Tegsedi, the brand name for inotersen that treats hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR). Earlier this month, Akcea licensed the Latin American rights to Tegsedi and Waylivra, which treats diseases with high lipid levels, to PTC Therapeutics (NASDAQ:PTCT); Ionis gets 60% of the milestone and royalty payments from PTC Therapeutics for Tegsedi and 50% of the payments for Waylivra. The larger loss came from an increase in R&D expenses, as Ionis and Akcea — which is still included in Ionis’ profit-loss statement because Ionis owns a majority stake — continue to advance Ionis’ pipeline. Selling, general, and administrative costs also increased as Akcea prepares to launch Tegsedi and Waylivra. Ionis’ balance sheet can certainly absorb the quarterly loss; the biotech ended the quarter with $2 billion in the bank thanks to its latest deal with Biogen, which is plenty to get by as it waits for revenue to start rolling in.

    Image source: Getty Images.

  • [By Brian Orelli]

    Data source: Ionis Pharmaceuticals.

    What happened with Ionis Pharmaceuticals this quarter?
    Revenue increased thanks to $41 million in royalties from Biogen’s (NASDAQ:BIIB) sales of Spinraza, up from just $5 million in the year-ago quarter. Because the tiered royalty rates reset each year, the royalties as a percentage of sales will end up being higher in the quarters to come this year. Despite the higher revenue, earnings turned negative on a GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) basis: Ionis and Akcea Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AKCA) increased spending in preparation for the launch of Tegsedi for hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (hATTR), and Waylivra for familial chylomicronemia syndrome, a rare disease that causes the buildup of lipids. Ionis is still the majority owner of Akcea, so its financials are incorporated into Ionis’ financials. The Food and Drug Administration pushed back its goal for making a decision on the marketing application for Tegsedi (the new brand name for inotersen) to Oct. 6, 2018. Ionis provided additional data analysis that the FDA needs additional time to review. In April, Ionis signed another deal with Biogen to develop antisense drugs for neurological disorders. In the deal, Ionis gets $1 billion up front, including an equity investment, in exchange for Biogen having first choice of neurology targets on which to exclusively collaborate with Ionis. Biogen is paying for everything beyond the initial discovery stage, with Ionis eligible for royalties and milestone payments as the drugs advance.

    Image source: Getty Images.

Top Biotech Stocks To Own Right Now: ArQule Inc.(ARQL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    Shares of ArQule, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARQL) were down 5.4% during trading on Wednesday . The company traded as low as $4.71 and last traded at $4.73. Approximately 3,358,864 shares traded hands during trading, an increase of 289% from the average daily volume of 863,008 shares. The stock had previously closed at $5.00.

  • [By Logan Wallace]

    ValuEngine downgraded shares of ArQule (NASDAQ:ARQL) from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Saturday.

    Several other brokerages also recently issued reports on ARQL. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of ArQule from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $2.75 target price for the company in a research note on Tuesday, May 8th. B. Riley set a $4.00 target price on shares of ArQule and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Monday, March 26th. Roth Capital raised their target price on shares of ArQule from $5.00 to $6.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 17th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of ArQule from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Saturday, May 19th. Finally, Leerink Swann upgraded shares of ArQule from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a research note on Thursday, April 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $5.35.

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on ArQule (ARQL)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

  • [By Ethan Ryder]

    ArQule, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARQL) insider Value Fund L. P. Biotechnology sold 1,035,939 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $5.00, for a total value of $5,179,695.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink.

Top Biotech Stocks To Own Right Now: Amgen Inc.(AMGN)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    South Dakota Investment Council lowered its stake in Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) by 59.4% during the 1st quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 77,041 shares of the medical research company’s stock after selling 112,589 shares during the quarter. South Dakota Investment Council’s holdings in Amgen were worth $13,134,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    Private Capital Group LLC boosted its stake in Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) by 1,703.1% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 2,362 shares of the medical research company’s stock after purchasing an additional 2,231 shares during the period. Private Capital Group LLC’s holdings in Amgen were worth $403,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

  • [By Ethan Ryder]

    Wayne Hummer Investments L.L.C. trimmed its position in shares of Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) by 11.6% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 2,311 shares of the medical research company’s stock after selling 303 shares during the period. Wayne Hummer Investments L.L.C.’s holdings in Amgen were worth $394,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Top Biotech Stocks To Own Right Now: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc.(ALNY)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Cory Renauer]

    Anyone who likes a good underdog story will want to keep their eye on Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY) and GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ:GWPH) through this year and next as they launch their first products in the U.S. Smaller biotechs have a terrible track record when it comes to launching new drugs on their own, but most analysts expect these companies to buck the trend and propel their recently approved drugs to blockbuster status within a few years.

  • [By Brian Orelli]

    Earlier this week, Dicerna released promising interim phase I data for its lead drug, DCR-PHXC, in patients with primary hyperoxaluria type 1 and type 2. The company plans to start a trial to be used to support an FDA approval in the first quarter of 2019, but that’ll put it behind Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALNY), which is about to start a phase 3 study testing its drug, lumasiran, in patients with primary hyperoxaluria type 1. Hopefully, Dicerna can use some of its new capital to help accelerate enrollment in its trial to try to catch up to Alnylam.

  • [By Brian Orelli]

    Following the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Onpattro, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ:ALNY) first drug to treat hereditary transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis (hATTR), the biotech held a conference call to go over the plan for launch. Here are three things management wants investors to know:

  • [By Jim Crumly]

    Commercial success for Tegsedi is not a done deal even if it’s approved worldwide; Alnylam Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ:ALNY) competing drug patisiran was approved by the FDA on Aug. 10. Alnylam’s clinical testing showed cardiac benefits for patients whose cardiovascular systems have been affected by the disease, and Alnylam believes that will give patisiran an advantage over Tegsedi. But in the conference call, Akcea executives brushed off that concern and pointed to the advantage Tegsedi has in being an injection that can be delivered at home, versus patisiran, which is administered intravenously in a clinic. We shall see.

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