For the second time in less than a month, the biotechnology sector got whacked when once again, chatter coming from the halls of Congress over drug pricing concerns hit the sector hard. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology (NASDAQ: IBB) exchange traded fund was down a whopping 4.4% on Friday. After the vicious sell-off, some of the major firms on Wall Street say that this is a perfect entry point for some of the top biotechnology stocks to buy.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALXN) is still a top stock to buy at many Wall Street firms, and some consider it a potential acquisition target. Some analysts see likely strong accretive near-term to an acquirer, given the very impressive $1.5 billion revenues, which are big enough to be significant to a larger company. The Thomson/First Call estimate is posted at $189.67. Alexion closed Friday $159.79, down a staggering 8%.
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) was a biotech leader that took it on the chin. The company has been a sector pioneer since 1980. Amgen has grown to be the world’s largest independent biotechnology company, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential. The company trades at a low 15.2 times forward earnings. And investors are paid a 2% dividend. The consensus price target is $131.45. The stock closed Friday at $122.93, down 3.24%.
Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) was a biotech leader that got crushed Friday. The company remains the top name in its class and is an industry powerhouse. The company is trading at just 20 times 2015 earnings, and many think that the stock is not overvalued. Wall Street also expects that the mega-cap biotech can beat this year’s earnings expectations. With an incredible portfolio and pipeline, Biogen Idec is a top portfolio holding for many mutual funds and hedge funds. The consensus price figure is $345.52. Shares closed Friday at $318.53, down a staggering 8.2%.
Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG), which is the maker of the cancer drug Revlimid, won U.S. approval Friday for a pill to treat psoriatic arthritis that may challenge injections that are among the best-selling drugs on the market. The medicine, called Otezla, was cleared to treat arthritis associated with the skin condition psoriasis, giving the company its first victory in its effort to sell the drug for a handful of other inflammatory diseases. The painful joint condition occurs in about 30% of the 125 million people worldwide. The consensus price target is $190.92. Celgene closed Friday down 3.74% at $144.40.
Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) was the focus of the price inquiry that got the selling party started on Friday. The company has defended its pricing and said that Sovaldi represents a major advance over existing treatments for hepatitis C. The company has also said the new therapy can avoid the long-term medical expenses related to liver failure, cancer and transplants. Wall Street analysts agreed and jumped to defend the stock. The consensus price target is $100.17. The stock closed Friday at $72.07, down more than 4.5%.
Illumina Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) was the dominant early leader in a growing genetic sequencing market that some analysts predict could reach $20 billion annually in the near future. The company has a dominant 70% market share in the industry, and its development of groundbreaking technologies, such as the $1,000 human genome, have been game changing. Illumina’s dominance in the early days of the gene sequencing market has the company poised to ride its innovation to years of success. The consensus price target is $165.94. Illumina closed Friday at $152.60, down 5.4%.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) has been a performance monster over the past two years, and most Wall Street firms expect it to stay one. With treatments for everything from macular degeneration to colorectal cancer, the company continues to exploit an extraordinary pipeline. The company is viewed by many Wall Street firms as a leading candidate to be one the next generation of large cap biotech leaders. The consensus price target is $347.21, and Regeneron closed Friday at $310.79. That was down a large 5.45%.
The bears on Wall Street will continue to growl that these top stocks to buy are all too expensive and that regulation will become more of an issue. Once again, the drug pricing issue that was brought up in Congress is hardly a new topic, and certainly will not change overnight. Headline event driven hedge funds love politicians playing for the camera and media. Once the populist rhetoric starts, so do the orders to start selling stocks short.