Top Analyst Has 3 Large Cap Biotechs to Buy as Massive Selling Subsides

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While the market has bounced back smartly over the past few sessions, one thing is for sure: the baby was tossed out with the proverbial bathwater in many sectors. Nowhere is that more true than with large cap biotech stocks. With indiscriminate selling absolutely punishing some of the top companies, one analyst says now is the time to buy.

Michael Yee and the biotech team at Jefferies make the case that some of the sector leaders have been hit so hard, that they are now trading at levels that are within 5% to 15% of “no pipeline value.” That is incredible, as many of the top stocks have pipelines of upcoming drugs and products that are potentially worth billions.

The analysis looked back to prior bouts of selling and noted this in their report:

When we look back at the various bear market cycles for biotech (2001, 2008-09, 2016-17), buying the stocks near the “no pipeline value” has historically been a very attractive time to start stepping in to buy and generate positive returns as investors will have over-penalized the group to such a “bear scenario” sentiment that the stocks no longer imply any value for the pipelines that are the heart of the longer-term upside from new drugs that could work.

The Jefferies team has three top stocks in the industry rated Buy. All make good sense for aggressive growth investors.

Amgen

This biotech giant remains a top stock for investors to buy and a safe way to play the massive potential growth in biosimilars. Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) has been a biotechnology pioneer since 1980 and has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent biotech companies. It has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.

Amgen develops, manufactures and markets biologic therapies for oncology and inflammation. The company’s five key marketed products are among the top-selling pharmaceutical products in the world, with expected collective revenues of more than $22 billion in 2018.

Amgen also has billions in overseas cash, and it could see some big tax relief with a lower rate for repatriation of those funds back to the United States.

Amgen shareholders are paid a 3.02% dividend. Jefferies has a $200 price target on the shares. The Wall Street consensus target is $194.64, and shares closed on Tuesday at $174.62.

Celgene

This company was hit hard after earnings but has big upside potential. Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG) is a very profitable biopharmaceutical company that develops and markets therapies for the treatment of hematologic malignancies, solid tumors and inflammatory conditions. The company’s key growth driver and contributor to the top line is Revlimid for the treatment of multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndromes.

Its blockbuster blood cancer drug Revlimid continues to dominate. Pomalyst sales also continue to be solid, and cancer drug Abraxane is growing at a respectable rate. So the company continues to have a strong lineup of top-selling drugs. Many analysts feel that Celgene remains the best large-cap de-risked growth story, and it could remain that way through 2018.

It also appears that sentiment has bottomed for Celgene, as concerns about Revlimid intellectual property abate and revenues bounce back. As the pipeline starts to come through, investors should continue to return to the name for its best-in-class growth and underappreciated long-term earnings sustainability.

The Jefferies price target is $125, and the consensus price objective is $125.35. The stock closed Tuesday at $91.98 a share.

Gilead Sciences

This company is trading a very reasonable 12.5 times estimated 2018 earnings. Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes therapies for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, liver disease, cancer and inflammation. The recent acquisition of KITE allows for entry into the CAR-T space, indicating a renewed focus in oncology.

The company’s products include Stribild, Complera/Eviplera, Atripla, Truvada, Viread, Emtriva, Tybost and Vitekta for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in adults; and Harvoni, Sovaldi, Viread and Hepsera products for the treatment of liver disease.

Gilead also has a large pile of cash overseas, which the analysts feel could come back stateside with a low repatriation rate.

Shareholders are paid a solid 2.82% dividend. The $95 Jefferies price objective compares with the consensus price target of $88.27. The stock closed Monday at $80.79.

These three large cap biotech leaders have been hit so hard that their extensive product pipelines are getting very little respect valuewise. Since the volatility may not be over, it may make sense to scale buy shares over a couple of months to guard against another steep drop in the markets.