A brand new research report from RBC highlights more than 50 biotech event catalysts that are on the horizon. These are trial data, FDA decisions and company presentations coming soon. The analysts screened those events for the 10 that they feel will matter the most. We in turn at 24/7 Wall Street screened those 10 for the ones where the data seems farthest along, or where the catalyst is close at hand.
While analysts are very aware of the impending releases of crucial data, even the best cannot say for sure what will or will not prove successful. Investors with a higher risk tolerance may find any of these top stocks suitable for an aggressive portfolio.
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) is the top blue chip stock in the biotech world. The company acquired Onyx Pharmaceutical and its top drug Kyprolis in a $10.4 billion acquisition last year. Many in the biotech world, including RBC are expecting very soon the Phase 3 Kyprolis Focus (3rd line) and Aspire (2nd line) myeloma studies. Cardiovascular events are a known issue with Kyprolis, which is already approved to treat very sick patients who have received at least two prior therapies. The hope is the Aspire data will show toxicity data that allows the drug to be used earlier in the treatment process. RBC is more cautious on the data than the consensus. Investors are paid a 2% dividend. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target for the stock is $132.18. Amgen closed Friday at $122.84 a share.
Arrowhead Research Corp. (NASDAQ: ARWR) has dual licenses to two different biotech firms’ RNAi technology and substrates. RNA interference (RNAi) is a mechanism in cells that inhibits the expression of a specific gene and affects the production of a resulting protein. They are thought to be a method of silencing expression of disease-causing genes. RBC thinks the company may release positive Phase 2a for the drug called ARC-520, its RNAi therapeutic for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection, sometime in the third quarter. The consensus price target is a gigantic $28.10 Shares closed Friday at $11.24.
Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) is a top stock that crushed earnings as its leading drug Sovaldi continues massive sales. During the quarter just released, revenue for Sovaldi, its drug to treat hepatitis C, delivered product sales of $3.48 billion, exceeding average analysts’ estimates of $2.92 billion. The RBC team is looking for positive data on the company’s Phase 3 HIV “TAF” (son-of-Viread) pivotal data. Viread is Gilead’s hepatitis B and HIV drug, which will go off patent in 2018. The consensus price target is $108.65. Gilead closed Friday at $89.84.
Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ICPT) has been a gigantic name, and it is expected to release its Phase 2b Flint 72 week data in August. This was postponed from July, which unnerved some investors. Many of the top biotech analysts on Wall Street believe the data could represent a significant positive catalyst for the stock. Some analysts even believe the potential for breakthrough designation from the FDA on positive data remains a very real possibility. The consensus price target is a staggering $454.45. Intercept closed Friday at $221, down almost 3%.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTX) is another big cap biotech leader to buy. The company got on the biotechnology map with a blockbuster hepatitis C drug. The company looks poised to get revenue growing again with its cystic fibrosis franchise. It already has one drug approved, but Kalydeco by itself is only appropriate for about 4% of cystic fibrosis patients. To have Celgene-type success, Vertex needs drugs in its pipeline that are being tested with Kalydeco to be a success. RBC expects the company to release Phase 2 VX-661 data. VX-661 combined with Kalydeco showed statistically significant improvements in lung function in earlier released data. If the second generation drug is successful, it could be larger than some are currently estimating. The consensus price target is $108.55. Shares closed Friday at $95.75.