The biotech market has been on fire this year, and there is every indication that things will continue. With huge binary events right around the corner, and many of the top companies with clinical trials that have shown tremendous results, some of the gains for investors can be staggering.
This week several analysts’ calls rocked the biotech world. These were the kind of calls that if they go right could bring investors a double or even bring bigger returns. Earlier this month, 24/7 Wall St. covered nine stocks that could double in 2014. Here are four top biotech stocks that could bring investors a double or greater.
Biodel Inc. (NASDAQ: BIOD), a specialty biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the development and commercialization of treatments for diabetes in the United States. It is involved in developing proprietary insulin formulations for type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients, ultra-rapid-acting insulin analog-based formulations, and glucagon formulations and presentations for use as a rescue treatment for diabetes patients experiencing severe hypoglycemia or very low concentrations of blood glucose. Ladenburg Thalmann likes the stock and has a $6 price target. The Thomson/First Call estimate is in line at $6. Biodel was trading Friday just over $3.
Insmed Inc. (NASDAQ: INSM) got a huge lift this week when Piper Jaffray went against the grain and made a bold call. Insmed provided an interim update from the CLEAR-110 study, an ongoing, two-year, open-label extension study of once-daily Arikace, or liposomal amikacin for inhalation, to treat pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis patients. These data are from 98 patients who have completed the first 12 months of the CLEAR-110 extension study. The data were collected as part of a scheduled data safety monitoring board review of the CLEAR-110 extension study. The data showed that Arikace was well tolerated, and there was a sustained improvement from baseline level in Forced Expiratory Volume in One Second. The Piper Jaffray team thinks that the drug will get orphan indications in Europe and perhaps from the FDA. They raised their price target to $45. The consensus figure is much lower at $26.43. Insmed was trading Friday in the $18.75 area.
Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ: SNTA) is a leading oncology name to buy at Jefferies. The company is primarily focusing on developing its lead cancer drug ganetespib as a treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. If approved, the drug is expected to hit annual peak sales of $425 million to $600 million. The Jefferies price target for the stock is a huge $19, and the consensus target is $15.83. Synta was trading Friday at $6.58.
VIVUS Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) may have the safest drug of the three anti-obesity drugs that eventually will be available. The Cowen analysts have done surveys and channel checks with obesity physicians that again point to Qsymia as being the most efficacious obesity agent among the three, and as having an acceptable safety profile in patients (with the exception of women who are actively trying to get pregnant). The biggest issue for the drug has been the disastrous commercial strategy pioneered by the company’s prior management team. The Cowen price target is $19, and the consensus figure is much lower at $11.30. The stock traded Friday at $6.86.
Needless to say, small cap biotech names bring a huge amount of inherent risk for investors. These stocks are only suitable for very aggressive, risk-tolerant accounts. With that caveat in place, all these companies have made substantial strides with their lead products. While there are no guarantees for success, the current data suggest these companies are on the right track.
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