Analysts Have 12 Top Biotech Picks for Big Upside in 2018

Print Email
Jazz Pharmaceuticals

This top biotech company is also a new favorite at Merrill Lynch. Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ: JAZZ) is a biopharmaceutical company that identifies, develops and commercializes pharmaceutical products for various medical needs in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. The company has a portfolio of products and product candidates with a focus in the areas of sleep and hematology/oncology.

The company’s largest products are Xyrem for narcolepsy (excessive daytime sleepiness), followed by Erwinaze for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and Defitelio for veno-occlusive disorder (VOD, blockage of blood vessels in liver).

Merrill Lynch sees this as a very reasonably priced company and said this:

Growth opportunity from Vyxeos (expected to become new standard of care in Secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia) and JZP-110 (greatest upside potential) Potential for Xyrem patent settlements in 2017-2018 estimated, which we would expect to improve the stock sentiment.

While the Merrill Lynch price target is $164, and the consensus is up at $178.68. The stock closed most recently at $134.65.

La Jolla Pharmaceuticals

This biotech company has been mentioned recently as a possible takeover candidate. La Jolla Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: LJPC) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies intended to significantly improve outcomes in patients suffering from life-threatening diseases.

The company’s LJPC-501 is its formulation of angiotensin II for the potential treatment of catecholamine-resistant hypotension (CRH). It has initiated a Phase 3 trial of LJPC-501 for the treatment of CRH, called the Angiotensin II for the Treatment of High-Output Shock 3 (ATHOS) Phase 3 trial. LJPC-401 is its formulation of synthetic human hepcidin for the potential treatment of conditions characterized by iron overload, such as hereditary hemochromatosis, beta thalassemia, sickle cell disease and myelodysplastic syndrome.

SunTrust said this about the company’s treatment of septic or other distributive shock:

Given Giapreza’s broader than expected label, and the high levels of awareness among healthcare providers for a new drug in a setting with significant unmet needs, we believe the Street is likely underestimating the market opportunity, which we now estimate at ~$700 million in the U.S.

SunTrust recently raised its $57 price target on the shares to a staggering $65. That compares with the consensus figure of $57.29 a share, as well as the most recent share price of $32.18.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

This is a top biotech play for aggressive accounts to consider. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapeutic human antibodies for the treatment of eye disorders, hypercholesterolemia, cancer, inflammation and other diseases.

Regeneron’s product sales are driven principally by its VEGF inhibitor Eylea, which is approved for use in wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema, and by Praluent for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia.

This is another company with extensive operations in the United States and the lower corporate rate in the new law could be huge for the bottom line.

Merrill Lynch has a whopping $535 price target for the shares. That compares to the posted consensus target of $453.29. The shares ended last week at $375.96 apiece.

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

Needless to say, the biotech field is a very volatile area, and while the large cap leaders are somewhat more stable, they too can be subject to big market swings. We always recommended that only very aggressive accounts, with high risk tolerance, are suited for these companies. With that in mind, there can be some big winners in 2018, given the changing landscape, and any of these could be one.

Also check out some top semiconductor and other technology stocks that analysts recommend for 2018.