Nearing the end of the year and Q4, the Investing News Network looks at the top-gaining NASDAQ biotech stocks so far in 2018.

Occupying a unique category in the life science space, biotechnology continues to evolve personalized medicine, gene therapies, immunotherapies and more.

The end of Q4 and the calendar year has previously represented a positive time for the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (INDEXNASDAQ:NBI).

As companies gear up to gather financial results for the year, it’s a good time for investors to look at which biotech companies have made the biggest gains on the NASDAQ year-to-date in 2018.

The following list was developed using TradingView’s market filter, and all stocks have market caps between $50 and $500 million. All data was current as of market close on December 3, 2018, with figures listed in US dollars, unless otherwise noted.

1. Affimed (NASDAQ:AFMD)

Market cap: $279.677 million; year-to-date gain: 259.23 percent; current share price: $4.67

Affimed is in the top spot on our NASDAQ biotech stocks list. Working on immuno-oncology drugs, it uses its ROCK platform to develop its pipeline. Its drug ARM13 is in development for four indications, and represents the company’s most advanced drug.

As reported in the company’s Q3 financial report, updated data from a AFM13 and Keytruda trial showed an 87 percent objective response rate to Hodgkin lymphoma. Updated data for the same program as a monotherapy had a 50 percent objective response rate.

2. Xenon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:XENE)

Market cap: $212.77 million; year-to-date gain: 188.85 percent; current share price: $8.16

Xenon Pharmaceuticals is a Canada-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company working on therapies for neurological disorders. The majority of the company’s drug candidates are for epilepsy, but others are for pain and hemiplegic migraine.

Nearing the end of Q4, Xenon presented an update on its drug XEN1101 for epilepsy. The data from this trial was positive and supports the continuation of the program, which will move into Phase 2. The company plans to begin patient enrollment for this trial in early 2019.

3. Krystal Biotech (NASDAQ:KRYS)

Market cap: $366.20 million; year-to-date gain: 137.26 percent; current share price: $24.96

Middle of our NASDAQ biotech stocks list is Krystal Biotech. This gene therapy company is working on drugs for skin diseases as developed by its proprietary technology, the Skin TARgeted Delivery platform, or STAR-D platform. The platform develops off-the-shelf skin disease treatments from gene-transfer technology.

Krystal’s Q3 financial report highlights positive interim results from its placebo-controlled Phase 1/2 trial of KB103. This is a first-in-class topical gene therapy for dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, which is a serious skin disease.

A higher cash and short-term investments position was also reported at $52.3 million compared to $45.5 million in Q2 2018. This increase was driven by a $69-million public offering that closed in October.


Market cap: $404.36 million; year-to-date gain: 134.55 percent; current share price: $3.87

Working on a pipeline of small molecules for cancer and rare disease indications, the company has five drug candidates. Derazantinib is ArQule’s most advanced drug, and is currently in a registrational trial for liver tumors. Another Phase 1/2 study is ongoing for the drug for patients with advanced solid tumors and the FGFR genetic mutation.

Similar to Krystal, ArQule also raised money through a public offering in Q3, bringing in $70 million in gross proceeds. Altogether the company had over $105 million in cash, equivalents and marketable securities, coupled with the offering, as of the end of that period.

5. Chiasma (NASDAQ:CHMA)

Market cap: $98.21 million; year-to-date gain: 127.65 percent current share price: $3.87

Focused on discovering treatments for rare and serious chronic diseases, Chiasma lands last on our NASDAQ biotech stocks list. The company uses its transient permeability enhancer technology platform to develop oral forms of medications that are only available as injections.

Chiasma hasn’t had an abundance of news over the quarter thus far, but it did have positive highlights in its Q3 financial report. In early October, the company completed patient enrollment for its Phase 3 CHIASMA OPTIMAL trial as a maintenance therapy for adult acromegaly patients. The data from this trial is set to be released in September 2019.

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

Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.



S&P 5003991.55-32.34


Heating Oil3.74-0.02
Natural Gas8.09+0.42