Top Biotech Plays Highlight Jefferies Growth Stocks to Buy

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More and more, the companies that we cover on Wall Street are starting to agree that while the future’s still bright for the U.S. economy, it may be one of growth that is much lower than the norm. When that is the case, then investing strategies often shift from indexing to a more disciplined stock picking routine, and that’s when investors need solid growth ideas.

Jefferies highlights the firm’s top growth stocks to buy each week, and this week is no exception. While these companies are better suited for accounts that have a higher risk tolerance, they all make good sense now, and all have outstanding upside potential. We found four that look extremely good now.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

This company was pounded after it discontinued clinical trials recently for a top drug. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes novel therapeutics based on RNA interference.

The company’s clinical development programs include patisiran and revusiran, and Jefferies commented on the stoppage:

The company announced last week that they had terminated the revusiran Ph3 trial due to mortality imbalance. None of the 18 deaths was ruled drug related, but we see high risk to the TTRsc02 program given lack of efficacy. Revusiran is the only drug using 1st generation GalNAc, while all current clinical programs (ex patisiran) use the 2nd generation GalNAc.

The stock was up Monday after the company’s phase III clinical study for its patisiran drug was recommended to continue by the trial’s data monitoring committee. The committee, made of an independent group of experts assigned to the trial, said the study can go on without any changes. Patisiran treats a progressive, inherited disease that causes sensory and motor function failure. The affliction ultimately leads to disability and death.

Jefferies keeps a Buy rating on the stock and has a $58 price target. The Wall Street consensus target is higher at $73, but that could drop. Shares closed Tuesday at $34.83.

Celgene

This company is a top large cap biotech pick the Jefferies team likes. Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG) has an outstanding partnered pipeline, which most think is low risk and has the potential to yield several blockbuster drugs. Certain Wall Street analysts also think the company can grow earnings 15% on a compounded annual growth rate basis going forward. Otezla, which treats psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, had achieved considerable prescriptions among physicians, but the scripts have slowed after a solid launch, showing the importance for sales outside of the United States. Jefferies thinks they could be weak this quarter due to the launch of a competing product.

The company reported last week that the data from a randomized, double-blind, multicenter, exploratory Phase 1b study evaluating the effects of oral GED-0301 (mongersen) on both endoscopic and clinical outcomes in patients with active Crohn’s disease were accepted as a late breaking abstract at the United European Gastroenterology Week.

Wall Street analysts have noted that the company has discussed at their recent conference the benefits of longer duration Revlimid. Celgene has a very compelling pipeline, and with four existing Phase 3 trial assets, that may add strong new drugs and revenue prior to the end of the decade.

The Jefferies price target is $134, but the consensus target is up at $137.43. The shares closed most recently at $101.64.