4 Biotech Stocks to Buy for 2018 With Up to 100% Upside Potential

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La Jolla Pharmaceuticals

This biotech company has been mentioned recently as a possible takeover candidate. La Jolla Pharmaceuticals Co. (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.

A recent FDA approval is a huge plus, and a SunTrust Robinson Humphrey research report had this to say:

The company provided a corporate update on Giapreza (a novel formulation of angiotensin II), which received FDA approval 2 months ahead of schedule for the 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.

The $57 SunTrust price target was recently raised to a staggering $65. The consensus figure is $51.67, and the shares most recently closed trading at $32.18 apiece.

Portola Pharmaceuticals

This stock was hit hard near the end of 2017 and is offering investors a great entry point. Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PTLA) is focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutics in the areas of thrombosis, other hematologic disorders and inflammation for patients having limited or no approved treatment options.

The company’s two lead programs, Betrixaban and Andexanet alfa, address unmet medical needs in the area of thrombosis, or blood clots. Its third product candidate is Cerdulatinib. The company’s Syk is a mediator of immune response in various types of immune cells.

A product delay caused the selling, and Oppenheimer analysts weighed in with this:

Portola shares sold off after the company disclosed a three-month delay to the AndexXa PDUFA. We believe this decline is unwarranted based on our view that the company plans to launch two new drugs in 2018, each with sales potential exceeding $1B at peak by our estimates. We see the three-month delay to AndexXa (Portolas antidote for Factor Xa inhibitors when patients experience episodes of acute bleeding) as essentially immaterial to our outlook. We update our model to reflect a US launch of AndexXa in the second quarter of 2018 versus the prior first quarter estimate which results in small updates to our revenue and earnings estimates. We view the weakness in the shares as a buying opportunity.

Oppenheimer has set a $60 price target for the shares, and the posted consensus target is $57.29. The stock was last seen trading at $48.68 a share.

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These four biotech stocks have big upside potential and make good sense for aggressive accounts looking for new 2018 ideas. While only suitable for very high risk-tolerance accounts, the stocks have big alpha potential.