Healthcare Business

Jefferies Has 5 Top Biotech Stocks to Buy for 2017


This is another top mid-cap rumored to be in the sights of a larger biotech company. Incyte Corp. (NASDAQ: INCY) has a current validated approach in hematology-oncology, and there’s reason to believe the three wholly owned clinical-stage assets the company has could drive several billion in revenue, something important for an acquiring company looking to acquire assets. Many on Wall Street are bullish on the company’s rich pipeline of small molecule therapies in all stages of development, and they see the company as a key player in the cancer space.

Incyte focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of proprietary therapeutics in oncology. It offers Jakafi for the treatment of myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera cancers. Its clinical stage products include ruxolitinib cream, which is in Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of alopecia areata; and INCB52793, which is in Phase 1/2 for the treatment of advanced malignancies. The company’s clinical stage products also comprise baricitinib, which is in Phase 3 trial for rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a completed Phase 2 trial for psoriasis and diabetic nephropathy.

The Jefferies price target is $118, while the consensus price objective is $110.21. Shares closed at $118.52.

Vanda Pharmaceuticals

Analysts also feel good about this top biotech now. Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VNDA) focuses on the development and commercialization of products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders. The company’s marketed products include Hetlioz (tasimelteon), a product for the treatment of non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder, and Fanapt (iloperidone), a product for the treatment of schizophrenia.

The company’s clinical development products include tradipitant (VLY-686), a small molecule neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist that is under the clinical development for the treatment of chronic pruritus in atopic dermatitis; Trichostatin A, a small molecule histone deacetylase inhibitor; and AQW051, a Phase 2 alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonist.

Jefferies noted in the fall when it assumed coverage of the stock that it believes the Hetlioz program would ramp from, and four key Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies are expected to report results in 2017.

The $23 Jefferies price target is near the consensus target of $22.50. Shares closed on Monday at $14.70.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals

This one has long been considered a buyout candidate. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTX) engages in discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing small molecule drugs for patients with serious diseases in specialty markets. The company focuses on developing and commercializing therapies for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) and hepatitis C.

Wall Street as a whole has long been very positive on the stock, and some have indicated that the company could have as much as $10 in potential earnings-per-share power. The consensus also expect that Vertex should receive FDA approval for the company’s CF drug Lumacaftor, or as it is known, VX-‘809, which some think could generate billions in revenues.

Its big catalyst for Phase 2 “triple data” in cystic fibrosis could have results in the fall of this year Some feel that the company has a potential parabolic earnings curve and profitability that could go from $0 in per-share earnings to $5 or more in a few years, and two new next generation correctors in Phase 2 as a “triple pill,” which could add $1 billion to 2 billion more down the road from the “hetero” market. In addition, many top analysts feel the company has a fairly good chance that the Phase 3 “triple” will work in the second half of 2017 — a new growth driver with data coming.

Jefferies has a $104 price target. The consensus target is $100.10. Shares closed yesterday at $82.86.

It goes without saying that these stocks have the potential for not only big upside, but big volatility. They are only suitable for accounts that have very high risk tolerance. With that in mind, they also run the gamut for investors in terms of potential and offer solid alpha if things fall into place.

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