The biotech industry is a unique intersection of companies working on therapeutics, genomics, and oncology. It’s proving itself to be resilient and–through those multiple subsectors–the biotech market is able to shift into a dynamic, constantly evolving industry.
As the end of Q1 2018 is swiftly approaching, the Investing News Network (INN) is taking a look back on the top gaining NASDAQ biotech stocks year-to-date. Though most of the companies on this list are primarily in the clinical stage, each has proven to have a strong pipeline and news—especially collaborations and license agreements—to catch investors attention.
The companies listed below all have market caps between $50 and $500 million, with all data current as of market close March 27, 2018.
1. Aevi Genomic Medicine (NASDAQ:FBIO)
Market cap: $129 million; year-to-date gain: 89.17 percent; current share price: $2.27
First on the list on our top NASDAQ biotech stocks is Aevi. The company builds therapies through genetic discoveries for patients with pediatric onset life altering diseases.
The percentage gains for the company’s stock so far this year may have been triggered by some of Aevi’s news in March. The company first announced an expanded a collaboration with Kyowa Hakko Kirin, with an option to start an early stage monoclonal antibody program for an ultra-orphan pediatric indication.
Other news was Aevi’s 2017 financial report, which said the company made a decrease to $25.18 million from $28.36 million in 2016 for research and development.
“We continue to advance our pipeline and are pleased to have broadened our relationships with both CHOP and KHK, providing us with the resources to identify new targets and develop potential therapies,” said Mike Cola, Aevi’s CEO. “We remain committed to our goals of delivering clinical results in our lead programs in ADHD and Crohn’s Disease in 2018.”
2. Arqule (NASDAQ:XOMA)
Market cap: $276 million; year-to-date gain: 86.67 percent; current share price: $3.05
Second on the list of NASDAQ biotech stocks is Arqule. With five drug candidates in its pipeline Arqule focuses on targeted biomarker-defined patient populations through precision medicine.
Early in February the company made a positive announcement to enter a license agreement with Roivant Sciences to collaborate with developing derazantinib in greater China. The drug candidate is a fibroblast growth factor receptor is in another trial in the US and Europe as a potential treatment for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA), a form of biliary tract cancer.
Investors interested in the company can look forward to the company presenting data from multiple Phase 1 trials later in the year and news of the the derazantinib iCCA trial as the company anticipates completing dosing.
3. Vericel (NASDAQ:GALT)
Market cap: $372 million; year-to-date gain: 77.98 percent; current share price: $9.70
In the middle on our NASDAQ biotech stocks list is Vericel which specializes in sports medicine and the severe burn care market through cell therapies.
Early in the year Vericel announced a collaboration with Innovative Cellular Therapeutics to develop and distribute Vericel’s MACI, Epicel, Carticel and more in greater China, South Korea and other countries in the region. Vericel received $5.1 million as an upfront and warrant payment.
“We are very pleased to begin our strategic collaboration and initiate technology transfer activities with ICT,” said Gerard Michel, CFO of Vericel. “We anticipate that this funding, together with our recently expanded $25 million debt facilities with Silicon Valley Bank and MidCap Financial, will allow the Company to reach profitability without raising additional capital.”
In its 2017 financial report, the company’s net revenue increased 18 percent from $54.38 million to $63.92, mainly driven from Carticel and MACI revenue. Both are knee cartilage repair products.
4. Adverum Biotechnologies (NASDAQ:ATHX)
Market cap: $337 million; year-to-date gain: 60 percent; current share price: $6.28
Adverum is a gene therapy company focused on rare and critical ocular diseases. The company’s pipeline includes candidates to address alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, wet age-related macular degeneration and other rare diseases.
The company extended a collaboration early in the year with Editas Medicine (NASDAQ:EDIT) to continue exploring the delivery of genome editing medicine to potential treat up to five inherited retinal diseases.
Adverum also gave a 2018 in its 2017 financial results which includes submitting two investigational drug application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and reporting preliminary data from a Phase 1 trial, all expected in the second half of 2018.
5. Aptose Biosciences (NASDAQ:CARA)
Market cap: $102 million; year-to-date gain: 48.21 percent current share price: $3.36
Last on the list is Aptose, a company specializing in personalized oncology therapeutics. The company is advancing therapeutics through cellular targets with a specialized small molecule cancer pipeline.
Aptose affirms the trend of with the companies on this list of license agreements and collaborations by announcing its own with OHM Oncology. The global agreement allows OHM to develop, manufacture and commercialize APL-581 and others for a $125 million upfront payment.
“We are pleased to formalize a new phase of our partnership with OHM Oncology, which originated in late 2015 from the work performed by its R&D partner LAXAI Life Sciences (LAXAI) on a discovery stage program,” said William G. Rice, Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We have every faith that OHM can advance the program to the next stage and create value for both organizations and valuable therapeutics for cancer patients.”
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.
***This article is updated quarterly. Scroll to the top for the most recent information***
5 Top NASDAQ Biotech Stocks Year-to-date
By Bryan Mc Govern, September 19, 2017.
So far 2017 has proven to be a somewhat successful year for the biotech sector, new developments and discoveries have helped the industry move along from a slow paced 2016.
With the growing scales of the biotech sector, many companies have been able to report great success so far in a bounce-back year for the whole industry.
Here the Investing News Network (INN) takes a closer look at the top NASDAQ biotech stocks year-to-date. The companies listed below all have market caps between $50 and $500 million.
Market cap: $145.05 million; year-to-date gain: 350 percent; current share price: $18.99
First on the top NASDAQ biotech stocks list is Xoma, a biotech company engaged in the licensing business with other peers. The company focuses on the development of antibody therapeutics.
This year, Xoma has been able to highlight positive developments in its pipeline; first, on April 18 the company announced pre-clinical data from the study investigating its anti-PTH1R antagonist monoclonal antibody, a potential first-in-class therapeutic agent, for the treatment of hyperparathyroidism (HPT) and humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy (HHM).
Jim Neal, chief executive officer of Xoma, said the company was encouraged by these results showing the promise of their antibody in treating HPT and HHM. Despite the positive stories early in the year, the company saw a substantial increase in its stock starting around August 23.
As part of the company’s financial disclosure for the second quarter of their year, Xoma reported a $10 million milestone payment from a pharmaceutical partner effective in July.
The company saw a large reduction in its research and development expenses, this move represents a shift in corporate strategy, which focuses more on leveraging the extensive portfolio of their programs and technologies.
Galectin Therapeutics (NASDAQ:GALT)
Market cap: $60.99 million; year-to-date gain: 77.59 percent; current share price: $1.74
Next on our top NASDAQ biotech stocks list is Galectin. On June the company received a patent allowance in the US for the use of GR-MD-02.
“The breadth of coverage for the patent portfolio includes; various types of organ fibrosis (liver, lung, kidney, and heart), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders and cancer, including combination cancer immunotherapy,” the company explained.
Most recently the company announced it had received a patent from the Chinese Patent Office regarding the company’s lead compound GR-MD-02, which will last until 2032.
Doctor Peter G. Traber, chief executive and medical officer for the company said this approval was key for the company thanks to the market size for the treatment of liver fibrosis.
“The prevalence of patients with fatty liver disease in China has approximately doubled over the past two decades,” Dr. Traber explained.
During their second quarter financial results report, the company announced an approximate 80 percent of the patients enrolled in their NASH-CX trial completed 52 weeks of infusions.
Market cap: $290.47 million; year-to-date gain: 66.67 percent; current share price: $2.55
Middle of the pack on our top NASDAQ biotech stocks year-to-date list is Athersys. The company’s stock profile reveals the long-term play investors should keep in mind when looking into the life science sector. The company saw a decline in January that lasted all the way until March 28 when Athersys began turning things around.
As part of their financial report for the second quarter of the year, the company highlighted the alignment of positive news from its MASTERS-2 stroke study in its path to approval, from both the European Medicines Device Agency (EMA) and the FDA.
“We have continued to advance our preparations for the MASTERS-2 study and intend to be ready for launch later this year,” Dr. Gil Van Bokkelen Chairman and chief executive officer said.
Fortress Biotech (NASDAQ:FBIO)
Market cap: $224.85 million; year-to-date gain: 64.81 percent; current share price: $4.45
Fortress is a company operating the development of pharmaceutical and biotechnology products through its own pipeline and that of its subsidiary companies. Several of these companies are publicly traded and some even launched this week, including Mustang Bio (NASDAQ:MBIO) and Checkpoint Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CKT).
Dr. Lindsay A. Rosenwald, chairman, president, and chief executive officer for the company said through their acquisition model, the company was meeting critical milestones during their second quarter report.
In April the US Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the transfer of two FDA orphan drug designations for CAEL‐101 from Columbia University to Caelum Biosciences, a Fortress subsidiary.
The company also expanded into the gene therapy market by the formation of a new subsidiary company called Aevitas Therapeutics, which will use a proprietary technology will seek to “restore lasting production of functional complement regulatory proteins.”
Cara Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CARA)
Market cap: $435.61 million; year-to-date gain: 43.92 percent current share price: $13.37
Rounding out our top NASDAQ biotech stocks year-to-date list is Cara Therapeutics. The company has been able to consistently update shareholders on the progress of several trial developments throughout the year.
In June the company announced the FDA had granted a “Breakthrough Therapy” designation to their I.V. CR845 for the treatment of moderate-to-severe uremic pruritus (UP) in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients undergoing hemodialysis.
The company has a phase 3 trial program set in place for this treatment according to Dr. Derek Chalmers, president and chief financial officer of Cara Therapeutics.
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.