By Tara Chloe Dusanj
There are countless companies working to develop the next big billion dollar therapy or drug in the biotech sector. Every investor wishes they knew the accurate prediction to follow. They want to be able to buy stocks when they are early in the development stage, in order to maximize the return of their investment. While this is ideal, a good portfolio spreads the risk.
While profitable large-cap names may not be highly leveraged, they often consistently generate strong cash flow. These companies may also offer a degree of investor protection via buybacks and dividends.
If organic growth slows down, these companies can consider mergers and acquisitions, and they can put more capital towards research and development.
Here, we take a look at some of the larger, more established biotech companies.
Gilead is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that develops, discovers and commercializes ground-breaking medicines for unmet medical needs.
Globally, the company works to help, transform and simplify the process for people living with life threatening illnesses. Drugs produced by Gilead include treatments for HIV/AIDS, liver diseases, cancer, inflammatory, respiratory diseases and cardiovascular conditions.
Gilead is responsible for complete treatment regimens for the HIV infection, which is available in a one a day single pill. They have also created the first oral antiretroviral pill, designed to reduce the chance of certain high-risk adults getting infected with HIV.
In the past, Gilead has been one of the fastest-growing biotech companies in the world.
Gilead Sciences closed at US$83.98 on Monday, which is close to a 52 week low for the stock. They have traded within a 52-week range of US$81.26-US$123.34. The company has a market cap of US$112.47 billion.
Enanta is a development-focused biotechnology research company. It has been said that the company has a strong strategic model, as it uses a robust chemistry-driven approach.
The company uses its drug discovery capabilities to build small molecule drugs for liver diseases and viral infections. Their research is presently targeted at four diseases: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
Enanta has devised novel protease inhibitors, as well as NSSA inhibitors. They are members of a direct-acting-antiviral (DAA) inhibitor classes, which are created to use against the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Their protease inhibitors, made through their collaboration with AbbVie, include paritaprevir—something that is contained in AbbVie’s marketed DAA regimens for HCV—and ABT-493.
The second protease inhibitor that AbbVie is creating in phase 3 studies (in conjunction with ABT-530) is AbbVie’s NSSA inhibitor.
Additionally, the company has found a cyclophillin inhibitor, EDP-494, and a novel host-targeting mechanism for HCV that is now in a phase 1 clinical development.
Enanta Pharmaceuticals closed at US$23.03 on Monday and has dropped 6.27 percent in the past month. The company has traded within a 52-week range range of US$16.75- US$51.89 and has a market cap of US$442.27 million.
OPKO is a diverse healthcare company that works to create industry-leading positions in large, rapidly growing markets.
The business includes Bio-Reference Laboratories, the nation’s third-largest clinical laboratory with a core genetic testing business.
OPKO’s products include the 4Kscore® prostate cancer test and the Claros®1 in-office immunoassay platform.
Their pharmaceutical business also includes Rayaldee™. This is a treatment for secondary hyperparathyroidism found in stage 3-4 chronic kidney disease patients with vitamin D deficiency and VARUBI™, a drug for chemotherapy-included nausea and vomiting (oral formulation is FDA approved and pending launch by partner, Tesaro, IV formulation in Phase 3).
As a result of the benefits of point-of-care diagnostics, it is expected that OPKO will have strong market penetration in the areas they attempt to pursue.
Biologically, the business also includes hGH-CTP, which is a once a week human growth hormone injection (in Phase 3 and partnered with Pfizer), and a Factor Vlla drugs that is long-acting for hemophilia when entering Phase 2a. Globally, the company has a number of production and distribution assets, along with multiple strategic investments in development strategy.
OPKO continues to search for acquisition opportunities to satisfy complementary pharmaceuticals, compounds, technologies and businesses.
The company anticipates even more growth to take pace, as it leverages its proprietary technology, development powers, and desires for complementary and strategic acquisitions and investments.
OPKO Health close at US$9.26 per share on Monday. The company has a market cap of US$4.91 billion and has traded within a 52-week range of US$7.12-US$17.51.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Tara Chloe Dusanj, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.