5 Top Pharma Stocks on the TSX Year-to-date

INN takes a look at the top performing pharmaceutical stocks on the TSX for the first half of 2017.

top pharma stocks tsx

This year has been quite surprising for the life science sector, after a gloomy 2016 and predictions of a continuation in 2017, the year has shown just the opposite.

A market report from Deloitte on the whole life science sector indicated a projection of $8.7 trillion by the year 2020. Investopedia wrote that despite the inherent risk of pharmaceutical investment “stable cash flows, solid balance sheets, and pricing power” offset the risk and make this sector a defensive one that is relatively immune to the economic cycle.

As investors look ahead to the remainder of 2017, the Investing News Network (INN) profiles the top pharma stocks TSX year-to-date. The companies listed below have market caps of less than $500 million. All figures and numbers are current as of market closing time on July 4, 2017 with data compiled from Google Finance.

Immunovaccine (TSX:IMV)

Market cap: 147.76 million; year-to-date percentage gain: 75 percent; current share price: $1.19

First on our top pharma stocks year-to-date list is Immunovaccine. This immuno-oncology company is working on immunotherapies for patients facing cancer. Immunovaccine’s lead platform DepoVax can be used for many applications including combating cancer and infectious disease indications.

According to life science analyst at Echelon Wealth Partners, Douglas Loe, as reported by Cantech Letter, the company’s topline is set to increase to $10 million for the fiscal year 2018.

“DepoVax formulations promote the uptake and extended the exposure of antigens and adjuvants to cells of the immune system, thereby producing a more rapid, robust and sustained immune response against specific disease targets,” according to the company.

Most recently, Immunovaccine announced it had closed a $10 million bought deal offering, which will fund the company’s phase 1 clinical trial expanding the application of DPX-Survivac across multiple indications, according to CEO Frederic Ors.

GLG Life Tech (TSX:GLG)

Market cap: $14.62 million; year-to-date percentage gain: 70.21 percent; current share price: $0.40

Second on our top pharma stocks TSX list is GLG, a company that specializes in producing stevia, a sugar substitute, used by the company for research and development purposes. Their products range in between natural sweeteners, personal care and proteins and health supplements, which have gain popularity within health-conscious consumers seeking more natural options for their day-to-day.

Revenue saw a 13 percent increase and totalled $6.3 million, GLG said in a press release, the growth in revenues was due to a “two-fold increase in stevia sales…partly offset by a decrease in monk fruit sales and China domestic stevia sales.”

GLG also announced a two-phase plan to remove its $100 million debt. The first part of this plan was voted favorable by the shareholders and indicates a go-ahead for the company’s intentions to perform a “party transaction,” that according to GLG eliminates $17.8 million of their debt.

In May, following the company’s financials release, GLG reported a loss of $3.4 million during the first quarter of the year.

Cardiome Pharma (TSX:COM)

Market cap: $207.23 million; year-to-date percentage gain: 55.73 percent; current share price: $5.84

Middle of the pack on our top pharma stocks TSX year-to-date list is Cardiome, a company that is engaged in the development and commercialization of cardiovascular therapies for heart disease. They have two in-hospital products, one of which BRINAVESS has been cleared in Europe.

The company commercializes ESMOCARD, ESMOCARD LYO short-acting beta-blocker used to control rapid heart rate in a number of cardiovascular indications and licenses XYDALBA, a treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections and TREVYENT, a stage drug device combination under development for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.

The company has seen a string of commercial launches and successful trials this year for the many markets it’s in. Cardiome announced the launch of BRINAVESS in Canada, after obtaining approval from the country’s regulatory health agency.

“This milestone is particularly gratifying as BRINAVESS® was discovered by Canadian researchers and will now reach hospitals in Canada in order to help patients suffering from acute onset atrial fibrillation,” said president and CEO Dr. William Hunter.

In March the company released their financial report for the year 2016 and its fourth quarter, in which they indicated a net loss of $19.6 million for the year due to “an increase in revenue and a decrease in research and development expense as Cardiome made an upfront payment of $3.0 million to SteadyMed upon the execution of the license agreement for TREVYENT in 2015.”

VBI Vaccine (TSX:VBV)

Market cap: $241.38 million; year-to-date percentage gain: 38.55 percent; current share price: $5.75

VBI is a commercial biopharmaceutical working on vaccines to address unmet needs in infectious disease and immuno-oncology.

Some of their products include hepatitis B treatment Sci-B-vac, meanwhile the company has candidates in various stages of development, including a discovered Zika virus treatment. VBI is expected to release an interim readout on its cytomegalovirus vaccine program, for which the company has been working on since 2015.

The company completed a pre-Investigational New Drug meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discussing a phase 3 clinical program of VBI’s lead product Sci-B-vac.

“VBI is now in the process of preparing a Phase III IND for the U.S., and CTAs for Europe and Canada, with submission planned in the second half of 2017,” said president and CEO Jeff Baxter.

Cipher Pharmaceuticals (TSX:CPH)

Market cap: $151.52 million; year-to-date percentage gain: 5.31 percent; current share price: $5.65

Closing out our top pharma stocks TSX list is Cipher, who is a specialty company focused on dermatology treatments. They hold products both in the prescription dermatology and consumer skin care areas. Cipher’s pipeline includes a variety of candidates including a tattoo removal cream, for which the company holds worldwide rights. In Canada they have products that are currently under regulatory reviews for cold sores.

This year the company obtained approval from Health Canada regarding the use of OZANEX for the treatment of impetigo in patients aged 2 months and older. Cipher acquired the commercial rights to this cream treatment from Ferrer International SA in 2015.

“It’s the first bacteriocidal topical antibiotic and has been shown to be effective against resistant bacteria such as MRSA,” Dr. Ian Landells, a pediatric dermatologist from Newfoundland said in a statement.

As part of their financial report for the first quarter of 2017 the company reported an increase from revenue in both licensing and product sales of 16 and 32 percent respectively. Cipher also revealed a $1.6 million loss during this time.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_LifeScience for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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