Sunday , 16 December 2018

These 3 Large-Cap Pharma/BioTech Stocks Poised To Continue Their Winning Streak In 2018

We have identified below 3 large cap pharma/biotech stocks poised to continue their winning streak this year based on a combination of a solid Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and a strong VGM Style Score of A or B.

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…2017…was an impressive year for the pharma/biotech stocks courtesy of:

  • a slew of FDA approvals (46 vs. 22 in 2016),
  • upbeat quarterly results,
  • rise in demand for new product sales,
  • successful innovation and product line expansion,
  • strong clinical study results and
  • continued strong performance of legacy products

and these tailwinds are expected to drive the sector’s growth in 2018.

In addition, the tax overhaul bill…slashes corporate tax rates from 35% to 21% …[which]:

  • is likely to further boost profit margins of these companies with more cash left in hand [and],
  • in turn, can also be used for striking strategic deals this year, which were relatively fewer in 2017.

…Banking on such positive trends, investing in sound large-cap pharma stocks this year seems judicious…

Below are the selected 3 companies, poised to continue their winning streak this year:

1. AbbVie Inc. (ABBV)

This Illinois-based biopharmaceutical company is a lucrative option.

  • Shares of the company have soared 57.9% in a year’s time.
  • Moreover, the stock’s earnings and sales are further estimated to increase 18.2% and 11.8%, respectively, in 2018.

These positive trends were supported by a series of positive news in the past few months.

  • AbbVie presented promising data from several pivotal studies,
  • gained key regulatory approvals and
  • settled its Humira patent disputes with Amgen (AMGN) .

The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of B.

With several pivotal data readouts and regulatory milestones expected in 2018, the bullish run of the stock is expected to continue this year.

2. Novo-Nordisk A/S (NVO)

We also recommend Novo Nordisk, the Denmark-based global healthcare company and a leader in the worldwide diabetes market.

  • Shares of the company have surged 51.2% in a year’s time.
  • Moreover, the stock’s earnings and sales are further estimated to increase 5.3% and 1.5%, respectively, in 2018.

Currently the stock, with VGM Score of B, carries a Zacks Rank of 2.

Novo-Nordisk has been in news for the past few months based on the encouraging progress of its diabetes pipeline.

  • In December 2017, Novo Nordisk announced that the FDA has approved its semaglutide once-daily pre-filled pen to improve glycaemic control in type II diabetes patients. It will be marketed by the trade name of Ozempic. The company expects to launch Ozempic in the United States in the beginning of 2018.
  • Meanwhile, in September, the FDA had approved Fiasp (fast-acting insulin aspart) for treating adults with diabetes.
  • In August, the FDA had approved label expansion of the company’s diabetes drug, Victoza, now approved to reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in adults with type II diabetes.

The company’s label expansion efforts and the corresponding approvals bode well for its growth.

3. Roche Holding AG (RHHBY)

…Switzerland-based Roche Holding Roche dominates the breast cancer space with strong demand for its HER2 franchise drugs like Herceptin, Perjeta and Kadcyla. The company also has a dominant position in lung cancer market.

It is a Zacks #2 Ranked player with a VGM Score of B whose shares have gained 10.1% in the last 12 months. The company is:

  • looking for a label expansion of drugs namely, Actemra, which was approved for the treatment of giant cell arteritis last May and is the sixth FDA approval for Actemra since the medicine was launched in 2010.
  • Moreover, the recent FDA approval of Hemlibra for routine prophylaxis to prevent or reduce the frequency of bleeding episodes in patients with haemophilia A is encouraging.
  • Also, the potential acquisition of Ignyta — announced a couple of weeks earlier — is likely to strengthen Roche ’s pipeline as the integration will add a mid-stage cancer candidate entrectinib to its portfolio.

Continuous label expansions of key drugs, regular approvals and a robust pipeline are expected to drive the stock in 2018.

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