Much of the research coverage on Wall St. from the bulge bracket firms is concentrated on the most liquid, best known stocks from the S&P 500. These names are recognizable to investors and are reasonably easy to cover by their analysts from a data standpoint. In addition to Wall St. research, we make an all-out effort to find other stock coverage for our readers that can prove valuable. One area that does not get the coverage it should is biotech and biopharma. The stocks in this sector offer investors high risk, and often high reward.
PropThink is a specialty research firm that focuses its coverage on the biotech and biopharma arena. We went through their research, looking for not only their best investment ideas, but stocks that had a solid thesis. It is important for investors to remember that many of these stocks are dependent on some form of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, and the delay or lack of that approval can be devastating to the stock price.
The following are some of the best investment ideas from PropThink.
Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: OREX) has been followed closely by the PropThink team. Trading just under $6, Orexigen is one of three drug companies vying for the prize of an obesity drug winner. It is submitting data to the FDA again this year for its drug called Contrave. Analysts are bullish on the drug because it does not contain controlled substances. Orexigen’s alliance with Takeda Pharmaceutical for sales and distribution is considered a huge plus. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is $11. FDA approval could bring investors a big winner.
Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO) also rates best investment idea status. The FDA of Europe, the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (EMA CHMP), finally granted a positive opinion to partner company Baxter International Inc.’s (NYSE: BAX) drug HyQvia. The positive opinion for the drug indicates that it may be very successful when it hits the market later this year. This could provide a large revenue boost for Halozyme. The Wall St. consensus price target for the stock is $9.
With number of positive catalysts expected this year, BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN) has been a top pick at PropThink. The company has a robust pipeline of products and expected profitability by 2016. Its Naglazyme drug, combined with a host of phase 2 and phase 3 drugs being prepared for FDA submission, are expected to drive revenue this year. The consensus estimate for this very hot name is $67.
Having closely followed Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc., the PropThink research team was rewarded when the FDA voted to approve Probuphine, a subdermal implant of buprenorphine for the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence. The stock has been extremely volatile and is not recommended for conservative investors. However trading at less than $2 over-the-counter, it could provide big upside. The consensus price target for Titan is $5.
Huge advances in drug research often provide investors with the ultimate investing experience. Buying a biotech stock that fulfills the promise of their research can be a huge winner in a portfolio. It is always important to remember that many biotech and biopharma stocks have little or no revenue, and they live on whatever cash they have raised. If for any reason that cash runs out before FDA approval, the stock can end up going to zero. That also can prove to be the ultimate investment experience.