The latter part of the week was difficult for the biotech and specialty pharmaceutical sector. Unsettling news out of Washington, D.C., on potential changes in the taxation of the sector let the selling roll. Event-driven hedge funds may have contributed to the onslaught when they smelled blood in the water and unleashed the short selling. The bottom line for investors is that solid names, with solid pipelines and products, should be fine. Now may be the time to jump in on some stocks that have huge potential.
The biotechnology analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald are focused on stocks with the strongest pipelines and product potential. We screened their Buy-rated names, looking for the stocks with the best upside potential. But keep in mind that these stocks can be very volatile, and they are not suitable for conservative portfolios.
Evoke Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: EVOK) is a top name to buy at Cantor Fitzgerald. The company is a $61 million market cap specialty pharmaceutical company that is developing EVK-001, a metoclopramide nasal spray for the relief of symptoms associated with acute and recurrent diabetic gastroparesis in women with diabetes mellitus. Market research and physician interviews have found that treatment options for diabetic gastroparesis are inadequate, and there is a high level of interest in effective outpatient options for managing patients with gastroparesis symptoms. The Cantor Fitzgerald price target for the stock is $19. The Thomson/First Call consensus is at an astonishing $39.50. Shares were trading Friday just above $10. A move to the Cantor target would be a 90% gain for investors. A move to the consensus would be an incredible home run.
Heat Biologics Inc. (NASDAQ: HTBX) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing its novel, “off-the-shelf” ImPACT therapeutic vaccines to combat a wide range of cancers. ImPACT Therapy is designed to deliver live, genetically modified, irradiated human cells that are reprogrammed to “pump out” a broad spectrum of cancer-associated antigens, together with a potent immune adjuvant called “gp96″ to educate and activate a cancer patient’s immune system to recognize and kill cancerous cells. The Cantor Fitzgerald price target is $18, and the consensus target is an incredible $27. The stock was trading Friday around the $6.30 level. A move to the Cantor target would be a 200% gain for investors. The consensus target, another huge home run.
Unilife Corp. (NASDAQ: UNIS) is actually considered a medical device stock, but biopharma firms are eyeing drug delivery companies, and this one may be ripe for a takeover. The superior functionality and ergonomic design of Unilife’s delivery systems — and the benefits they provide to the self-injecting patient in terms of safety, convenience and ease of use — are key differentiators that will drive both patient acceptance and physician preference in writing prescriptions, which in turn will drive market share and revenues for both Unilife and the pharmaceutical companies who choose to use Unilife delivery systems. The Cantor Fitzgerald price target is $8, and the consensus target is $7.70. The stock was trading at $4.20 on Friday. A move to the target would be a 90% gain for investors.
Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SCMP) is developing Amitiza in collaboration with its partner Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which markets the drug in the United Stats. Amitiza sales from the U.S. came in at $78.0 million, up 4.6% year over year. Total prescriptions for Amitiza increased 5% in 2013 and 6% in the fourth quarter in the U.S. The drug already has FDA approval for three conditions, and the company has recently filed for a fourth. The Cantor Fitzgerald price target is $12, and the consensus target is $10.25. Sucampo was trading at $8.30 on Friday. A move to the target would be a 45% gain.
Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SGYP) is a biotechnology company focused on the research and development of novel drugs for the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) diseases and disorders. Its lead product candidates include plecanatide, a guanylyl cyclase C receptor agonist that has completed Phase IIa clinical trials to treat chronic idiopathic constipation GI disorders, as well as is in Phase IIb clinical trials for the treatment of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome GI disorders. The Cantor Fitzgerald price target is $11, and the consensus target is higher at $12.81. Synergy was trading at just over $6 on Friday. A move to the target would be a gain of more than 80%.
We wrote last week about how the huge sell-off in the biotech and biopharma space may provide an excellent entry point for investors looking to buy some of the top names. While again, not for conservative accounts, some of the Cantor Fitzgerald stocks could be poised for tremendous gains for patient and risk tolerant investors.