4 Biotechs Ready to Kill the Market in 2018


The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index has reported a gain of 19.4 percent this year, a rebound from last year’s drop of 19.2 percent. Much of last year’s sluggishness was likely caused by all the talk of cutting drug prices during the U.S. presidential election. The political rhetoric has shifted to numerous other areas, and the recently-passed tax bill seems likely to give biopharma companies more cash to play with, so the industry is looking up, at least for now.

It’s also been a big year for drug approvals, with 46 approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the highest number since 1996.

With all that in mind, Zacks Equity Research looks at four biotech stocks it expects to have a fantastic 2018.

1. Acadia Pharmaceuticals

Based in San Diego, Acadia develops drugs for central nervous system disorders. On Nov. 3, the company released positive data from its Phase II trial of pimavanserin to treat psychosis related to Alzheimer’s disease.

“In the Phase II -019 study, pimavanserin significantly reduced psychosis in patients with Alzheimer’s disease without negatively impacting cognition,” said Clive Ballard, pro-vice-chancellor and executive dean, University of Exeter Medical School, in a statement. “Pimavanserin also had a favorable tolerability profile compared to known adverse effects of current antipsychotics. With no approved treatment for dementia-related psychosis, there is a significant unmet need. The results of the study indicate that pimavanserin could be an important new treatment option for this elderly and underserved patient population.”

The company’s Nuplazid was approved for Parkinson’s disease psychosis in 2016 and generated sales of $81.3 million in the first nine months of 2017. If approved for Alzheimer’s psychosis, it would likely skyrocket, because it’s an even bigger market.

2. Sangamo Therapeutics

Headquartered in Richmond, Calif., Sangamo focuses on therapies using genome editing techniques. On Nov. 15, it treated its first patient in the Phase I/II trial of SB-913, an investigational in vivo genome editing therapy for patients with mucopolysaccharidosis type II (MPS II), also known as Hunter syndrome. The company’s shares gained 455.7 percent this year.

3. AnaptysBios

Based in San Diego, AnaptysBio focuses on inflammation. On Nov. 6, it reported positive topline results from interim data on its Phase I trial of ANB019, an anti-interleukin-36 receptor (IL-36R). The antibody is being developed to treat generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP) and palmo-plantar pustular psoriasis (PPP) patients.

Zacks wrote, “Its anti-inflammatory pipeline includes anti-IL-33 antibody (ANB020) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe adult atopic dermatitis, severe adult peanut allergy and severe adult eosinophilic asthma; its anti-IL-36R antibody (ANB019) for the treatment of rare inflammatory diseases, including generalized pustular psoriasis and palmo-plantar pustular psoriasis. The company also has a portfolio of checkpoint receptor agonist antibodies for the treatment of certain autoimmune diseases where immune checkpoint receptors are insufficiently activated, which have demonstrated efficacy in an animal model of graft-versus-host disease.”

Company shares exploded 488.4 percent this year.

4. Sino Biopharmaceutical

Headquartered in Hong Kong, Sino Biopharmaceutical develops and markets numerous Chinese medicines and “chemical medicines” for two areas, hepatitis and cardio-cerebral diseases. Zacks noted, “The company also actively develops medicines for treating tumors, analgesia, orthopedic diseases, anti-infection, parenteral nutrition, respiratory system diseases, anorectal diseases, diabetes and other diseases to meet the increasing demand of the market, medical practitioners and patients.”

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