Healthcare Business

Analyst Cancer and Biotech Stock Picks From ASCO

As the summer starts, a large agenda is out there for investors when it comes to top biotech and specialty pharmaceutical companies making announcements and presenting clinical data. The biggest health care conference is this week, with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago. Top biotech companies will be making presentations there and many could have a big impact. That is just the beginning to a month that could include additional stock-moving data and decisions.

A new report from RBC documents and includes a timeline some of the top announcements for the month. We have screened them looking for top names to buy.

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) is expected to give updates at ASCO. The company has also thrown its hat in the ring in the race of oral interferon-free combination therapies for hepatitis C. The company has finished up its Phase 3 clinical-trial program for its all-oral hepatitis C drug cocktail. There were six clinical trials in total, testing the drugs in different patient populations in many cases with and without generic ribavirin. AbbVie’s drugs only have to be taken for 12 weeks in most cases and do not require peginterferon. Investors are paid a very solid 3.1% dividend. The RBC team expects word on a new drug application (NDA) acceptance on or about June 20. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is a $55.23. AbbVie closed Friday at $54.33 a share.

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) is the top blue chip name in the biotech world. The company focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. The stock trades at a low 12.6 times forward earnings. The company recently presented for the first time results from its potentially pivotal Phase 2 trial of blinatumomab. Blinatumomab is a bispecific T-cell engaging (BiTE) antibody that targets CD3+ T-cells to cancer cells expressing a tumor specific antigen. RBC will host a luncheon with physicians, where additional chronic lymphocytic leukemia data is expected to be presented. The biotech giant pays investors a solid 2.1% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $132.78. Amgen closed Friday at $115.99.

SEE ALSO: Three Companies That Want to Cure Pancreatic Cancer

Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) is a top stock to buy on Wall Street, where many predict that its Tysabri earnings will have a meaningful jump this year and beyond. Wall Street analysts also expect the company to reiterate guidance for anti-LINGO data in acute optic neuritis in the second half of this year, which provides the highest level of potential upside to Biogen’s share price if the results are positive. The RBC team expects a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) announcement on June 20 for the company’s hemophilia factor 8 Eloctate. The consensus price target for the biotech giant is $348.70. Biogen closed Friday at $319.37.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) is a top stock that was crushed in the biotech sell-off, but it posted solid first-quarter earnings. The company has shown excellent efficacy in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with its top drug idelalisib, which is an oral inhibitor. The RBC team is looking for data from the company at ASCO on updated Phase 3 idelalisib+R data and new PFS/duration curves. The consensus price target stands at $100.57. Gilead closed Friday at $81.21.

Pharmacyclics Inc. (NASDAQ: PCYC) operates as a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on developing and commercializing small molecule drugs for cancer treatment. The company’s drug Imbruvica, introduced this year for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, helped patients live longer without their disease worsening than other competing therapies. The RBC analysts are expecting Phase 3 Resonate data and investor interpretation of efficacy and PFS and duration/persistence on therapy. The consensus price target is $149.13. The stock closed Friday at $88.83.

Biotechnology stocks can move sharply on clinical data and FDA decisions. Investors considering owning these stocks, even the larger cap names, need to be reminded of the extreme volatility that can accompany them. With that in mind, for aggressive growth accounts, these are some of the top names to own.

SEE ALSO: Eight Analyst Stocks to Buy Under $10 for Big Upside

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