Top 10 Biotech and Pharmaceutical Stocks to Watch in 2020

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by Osaemezu Ogwu · 13 min read
Top 10 Biotech and Pharmaceutical Stocks to Watch in 2020
Photo: Depositphotos

Here’s an overview of the top 10 biotech and pharmaceutical stocks to watch in 2020. This biotech stocks list consists of companies that are actively developing drugs to fight diseases and even the coronavirus pandemic.

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical stocks are shares in companies in the Biotech sector. Biotech focuses on the development of drugs for the treatment of infectious diseases and medical conditions. It also involves the creation of tools that aid in the detection of diseases. This sector ranges from biofuels, gene cloning, genetically modified foods, and several others.

The high demand for medicines makes biotech and pharmaceutical stocks a great class to invest in. In line with that, people may always need to take medications to improve their state of health, which is why investing in companies in this industry hold great prospects.

Despite this, there is still a level of risk involved in trading this type of stock. For instance, health products often undergo rigorous testing and also need to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The time and cost needed to complete these processes require that investors wait long years before they can tell if they’ve run into a profit or loss.

Here are the top biotechnology and pharmaceutical stocks to watch in 2020.

Amgen Inc.

Amgen Inc. is a biotech company that was founded in 1980. The company is focused on the discovery, development, and marketing of drugs to treat diseases. It makes this possible by taking advantage of the advancement in cellular and molecular biology.

AMGN Stock

Amgen’s shares are traded on the stock market under the ticker symbol AMGN. The company’s stock is worth about $138 billion, which gives it the largest market capitalization for any stock from a biotech company. It also ranks Amgen as the biggest company in the Biotech & Pharma industry.

Nonetheless, it is worth noting that these shares declined at the start of the year. The reason could be tied to the company’s announcement of a decline in its 2019 revenue. The reported revenue for the full year was $23.4 billion, a 2% decline from 2018.

Health Products

Amgen has manufactured several health products that have been approved by the FDA. Popular among these are the Neulasta and Enbrel. Neulasta improves the health of chemotherapy patients by keeping infections at bay. Whereas Enbrel aids in the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

And in a bid to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Amgen has begun clinical trials of drugs that could potentially cure the virus. It partnered with Adaptive Biotechnologies to create antibodies to fight the virus. What’s more, the company says there is no shortage of supply of its drugs despite the epidemic and its impact on supply chains.

Gilead Sciences Inc.

Gilead Sciences Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that was founded in 1987. The California-based company develops drugs for the treatment of diverse illnesses. During its initial public offering (IPO) in the early 1990s, the company raised $86.25 million.

GILD Stock

Gilead Sciences stock operates under the ticker symbol GILD and it is listed on the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index and the S&P 500 index. GILD has a market capitalization of about $100 billion, at the time of writing. Interestingly, when the Dow Jones plummet by 1000 points, GILD came in second as the best performing stock on S&P 500. It also surged higher on Nasdaq-100.

On the other hand, there was a change in the company’s Chairman and CEO in early 2019. Daniel O’Day is now in charge with the goal of increasing the company’s sales after years of decline. The company reported a revenue of $5.9 billion in the Q4 of 2019 and it was an increase from the $5.8 billion made in Q4 of 2018.

Health Products

Gilead Sciences has developed several drugs targeted at treating hepatitis B, hepatitis C HIV, and influenza. Viread (tenofovir), for instance, was approved in 2001 and it is used in treating HIV patients. There’s also Sovaldi, an FDA approved that is used for the treatment of hepatitis C.

Interestingly, Gilead Sciences gained popularity of late thanks to its development of the drug Remdevisir. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Remdevisir could potentially help in treating coronavirus. Gilead Sciences, however, notes that the drug has not been approved even though it has proven effective in the treatment of MERS and SARS, which are other strains of coronaviruses.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that was founded in 1989. The Boston-based company is reportedly among the first to have adopted an explicit strategy for rational drug design. The latter differs from the combinatorial chemistry design that was often used.

VRTX Stock

Vertex is listed under the ticker name VRTX and its shares price grew steadily within a three year period. It grew from $74 to $269 per share between 2017 and 2020. At the time of writing, VRTX has a market capitalization of about $69 billion.

Vertex recorded an increase in sales. This was $3.04 billion in 2018 significantly higher than the $500 million it had reported in 2014. What’s more, the product revenue was also a 40% increase from the $2.17 billion revenue it had generated in 2017.

Health Products

Some of the health products offered by Vertex and which have been approved include Kalydeco (ivacaftor), Orkambi (lumafavtor, ivacaftor), Symdeko (tezacaftor, ivacaftor) and Trikafta (ivacaftor, elexacaftor, tezacaftor, and ivacaftor). These drugs aid in the treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis from 12 years and above. There are currently trials to launch drugs that could potentially help in treating medical conditions like sickle cell anemia.

Vertex Foundation, a non-profit arm of the company issued $5 million as a COVID-19 relief package. According to the Biotech company, the funds are aimed at helping organizations tailored to the provision of emergency relief to communities with Vertex employees. The foundation recently made a move to donate $50,000 CAD to charity organization Food Banks Canada.

Biogen Inc.

Biogen Inc. is a biotechnology company that was founded in 1978 as a result of a merger. The company develops drugs that help in the treatment of patients with neurological diseases. Some of these are Alzheimer’s and dementia.

BIIB Stock

Biogen’s stock is listed under the ticker name BIIB and it has a market capitalization of about 48 billion. Although Biogen had hit several milestones in 2018, it was still not enough to save its stock from tanking by over 30% in 2019.

The decline was due to its suspension of trials pertaining to aducanumab over regulatory concerns. Aducanumab is a drug that would’ve been used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Nonetheless, clinical trials were held after the drug was evaluated again, however, the company is yet to submit the drug to the FDA for approval. Early this year, Biogen reported first-quarter revenue of $3.5 Billion

Health Products

Biogen has launched several drugs that have helped in combating neurological conditions. Some of these drugs include Avonex, Fampyra, Flixabi, Benepali, Tysabri, Plegridy, Imraldi, Tecfidera, and Spinraza.

Illumina Inc.

Illumina Inc. is a biotechnology company that was founded. in 1998. The California based company specializes in the development of products tailored to proteomics, genotyping, DNA sequencing, etc. The company’s technology was able to reduce the cost of human genome sequencing. This cost was reduced from $1 million to $1,000.

ILMN Stock

Illumina’s stock is listed on Nasdaq‘s index under the ticker name ILMN. ILMN has a market capitalization of about $45.37 billion and in a 52 week period, its shares have traded between $196.78 and $380.

In January 2020, the company announced its revenue for the fourth quarter of 2019. Based on the company’s report, its revenue grew by 10% in Q4 of 2019 compared to that of 2018. In this case, it recorded $953 million, a significant difference from the $867 million raised in the Q4 of the previous year.

Health Products

Illumina offers several sequencing kits including Nextera DNA Flex, TruSeq RNA Exome, MiSeq Reagent Kits v3, NextSeq 500/550 v2.5 Kits. There are also products for reproductive health application and these products are not limited to HumanCytoSNP-12 BeadChip, Infinium CytoSNP-850K v1.2 BeadChip, and HumanCytoSNP-12 BeadChip.

On the other hand, Illumina is working on tool kits for testing the SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus. It launched the Illumina SARS-CoV-2 NGS Data Toolkit in a bid to accelerate the work of researchers looking for a cure for the virus. The company says these tools aid in detecting and identify COVID-19 in test samples. Hence, it could also help to add these findings to public databases.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a U.S. based biotech company that was founded in 1988. The company specializes in the development of drugs that reduce cholesterol, stimulate the blood vessels, and offer regenerative capabilities.

REGN Stock

Regeneron stock is listed on Nasdaq under the ticker REGN. It has a market capitalization of about $59.38 billion. The price per share has traded between $271.37 – $574.32 for the past 52 weeks. In January, the biotech company announced that it had generated a revenue of $2.17 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. The value marked a 13% increase from its revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Health Products

Regeneron offers quite a number of health products that have been approved. One of such products is EYLEA, which helps in treating eye diseases. EYLEA has also amassed more sales for the company more than any of its products. For instance, the company gets an annual revenue of about $1 billion from the sales of EYLEA in regions other than the U.S.

On the other hand, the great dependence on the company on EYLEA for its income did take a toll on it. For starters, Regeneron’s stock price declined when news of a tough competitor to EYLEA was being produced by Novartis. Despite this, the company’s price surged to and made a two year high after Novartis faced setbacks early this year.

Recently, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Sanofi SA began a clinical trial to ascertain if their arthritis drug Kevzara can help treat patients with COVID-19. In line with that, the company wants to develop a drug that combines the antibodies of mice and humans to treat COVID-19 patients.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. was founded in 1992. The Boston-based company specializes in creating therapies that could potentially enhance the body’s immunity.

ALXN Stock

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is listed on Nasdaq with the ticker name ALXN. The stock has a market capitalization of $24.556 billion. Each share has been sold between the range of $109.68 and $111.42 for the past 52 weeks.

In its financial report for the Q4 of 2019, the company revealed an increase in revenue over the Q4 of 2018. Here, it recorded $1,384.3 million in revenue, a 23% increase over the earnings of the Q4 of 2018. It may also be worth noting that since its inception, Alexion has acquired or merged with several companies including Proliferon Inc, Enobia Pharma Corp, Synageva BioPharma, Syntimmune, Achillion Pharmaceuticals, and Wilson Therapeutics.

Health Products

Alexion’s drug Soliris has gained popularity over the years. Soliris is used to treat rare diseases. The company further revealed that it will be widening the scope of its products to meet more patients.

When it comes to the treatment of coronavirus, Alexion is in the third phase of testing Ultomiris. The company hopes that Ultomiris could potentially help to fight the pandemic. The FDA has also cleared the drug to be used in testing.

Incyte Corporation

Incyte Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company that was founded in 1991.

INCY Stock

Incyte’s stock trades on Nasdaq as INCY. The stock has a market cap of $22.62 billion. The price per share has ranged between $103.45 – $104.81 for a 52 week period. The company revealed in its 2019 Q4 financial report that it has revenue of $579 million for the quarter and $2.1 billion for the whole year. These revenues were 24% and 22% increment over those generated in Q4 2018 and the whole of 2018, respectively.

Health Products

Incyte Corporation launched the drug Jakafi and the FDA has approved this drug. The company had also partnered with Eli Lilly to develop baricitinib, a drug that could help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. While Incyte Corporation received approval from the EU for the drug, it was rejected by the FDA over health concerns.

That aside, the FDA approved the company’s Pemazyre, a drug for the treatment of adults that have formerly been treated with cases related to Cholangiocarcinoma. Incyte also partnered with biotech company Novartis AG to use Jakafi to treat certain symptoms that lead to complications in COVID-19 patients. Both companies intend to study the drug and put 400 patients under a test with the drug.

Novavax Inc.

Novavax Inc. is a biotech company that was founded in 1987. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also gave the company $89 million as a research grant.

NVAX Stock

Novavax’s stock ticker symbol is NVAX, and the stock has a market capitalization of 1.099 billion. NVAX has been priced between $3.54 and $26.34 for a 52 week period. Novavax shares, however, tanked by 33% and traded around $8.41.

Health Products

There were also pretrials carried out in 2015 to create a vaccine for Ebola. The FDA also gave the company a Fast Track status in order to hasten the review of NanoFlu. The latter is a drug that could potentially become an influenza vaccine.

Over and above that, the company revealed that NVX-CoV2373 has been identified as a candidate for treating SARS-CoV-2. According to the company, the drug showed high immunogenicity and it also stimulated neutralizing antibodies.

Moderna Inc.

Moderna Inc. is a biotechnology company that was founded in 2010. The Massachusetts-based specializes in the discovery and development of drugs based on messenger RNA (mRNA).

MRNA Stock

Moderna’s stock is listed on Nasdaq under the ticker MRNA. The stock has a market capitalization of $16.174 billion and it has traded between the range of $11.54 to $56.38 for a 52 week period. The company revealed its revenues for the fourth quarter of 2019 and it amounted to $14.1 million. Nonetheless, it generated annual revenue of $24 billion and there are expectations that the company’s revenue for 2020 will surge to $77.6 billion.

Health Products

Moderna does not have any marketed products at the moment. Rather, it generates its revenue from partners that collaborate with the company to use its mRNA technology. The technology aids in the development of different therapies.

Moderna is also working on mRNA-1273, a vaccine candidate for COVID-19. And in February 2020, the first clinical batch was completed and a testing process began. The company also revealed its plans to test the drug on 45 healthy adults who are aged 18 to 55 years. The test will also last for approximately six weeks.

Conclusion

These are the top 10 BioTech and pharmaceutical stocks to watch in 2020 and even consider to buy. The companies themselves are actively working to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic. They also have a wide range of products tailored to treating different ailment that plaque the human. And most importantly, these companies have reported gains within the past quarter with expectations for more. Therefore, if you’re looking to trade biotech and pharmaceutical stocks, keep a close eye on these ones.

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