Which biotech stocks on the TSX have performed the best so far in 2019? Here’s a look at the five top TSX biotech stocks.
Canada’s biotech sector is making a name for itself in terms of market size and growth potential.
The survey states that in 2017, 54 percent of respondents considered their companies to be in the emerging stages of development, while only 22 percent said they were in the growth phase. By the end of 2018, 34 percent expected to be in the growth stage, signaling optimism about biotech in Canada.
Companies in the space have reflected this and many have performed well so far this year.
Below, the Investing News Network profiles the five top TSX biotech stocks year-to-date. Data was compiled on July 8, 2019 using TradingView’s stock screener, and all companies listed had market caps between C$20 million and C$500 million at that time.
1. StageZero Life Sciences (TSX:SZLS)
Market cap: C$28.89 million; current share price: C$0.17; year-to-date gain: 288.89 percent
StageZero Life Sciences — formerly GeneNews — designed the Aristotle test panel, which was created to screen for 10 different cancers with only one blood sample. The company has dedicated itself to developing tests that will detect cancer early by using whole blood, which means none of the components of the blood have been removed prior to testing.
StageZero Life Sciences’ Sentinel Principle platform was used to develop the first liquid biopsy for colorectal cancer, called ColonSentry.
In early June, the company signed a global licensing agreement with Oncore Pharma. Through the agreement, Oncore Pharma will commercialize ColonSentry through an exclusive five year agreement that will initially target 15 European countries, plus Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Canada. It will later expand to others.
2. Medicenna Therapeutics (TSX:MDNA,OTCQB:MDNAF)
Market cap: C$42.87 million; current share price: C$1.45; year-to-date gain: 114.29 percent
Medicenna Therapeutics is an oncology-focused company working to develop treatments for a wide range of cancers. The company’s lead drug candidate, MDNA55, is in a Phase 2b clinical trial to test its ability to treat resistant glioblastoma multiforme (rGBM), the most aggressive form of brain cancer.
MDNA55 has been granted orphan drug designation to treat gliomas by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and by the European Medicines Agency. The FDA has also given MDNA55 fast track designation to treat glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare malignant brain tumor.
During Q2, Medicenna Therapeutics had a bevy of news releases. At the end of April, the company announced it had finished enroling patients with rGBM in a Phase 2b MDNA55 clinical study. In mid-June, Medicenna Therapeutics released preliminary top line clinical results from the Phase 2b trial.
3. Aptose Biosciences (TSX:APS,NASDAQ:APTO)
Market cap: C$216.20 million; current share price: C$3.90; year-to-date gain: 51.54 percent
Aptose Biosciences is developing products that target hematologic malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).
In the company’s pipeline is CG’806, which is in preclinical stages moving towards investigational new drug submission; it is indicated for AML and B-cell cancers. Another product in its pipeline is APTO-253, which is also in preclinical development and is indicated to treat AML and MDS. The company’s third candidate, APL-581, has been indicated for other hematologic malignancies.
During the second quarter, Aptose Biosciences presented preclinical data for CG’806, demonstrating that the drug suppressed tumor growth in mice.
4. Spectral Medical (TSX:EDT)
Market cap: C$85.72 million; current share price: C$0.38; year-to-date gain: 33.33 percent
Spectral Medical is working on treatments for sepsis-related deaths. The company has completed a Phase 3 clinical trial testing its lead product, PMX, in patients with septic shock and endotoxemia.
In May, the company released its fiscal Q1 2019 financial results, revealing that revenue for the quarter dipped to C$547,000 from C$1.16 million in the year-ago period. According to the release, the fall was the result of certain patents expiring at the end of last year.
5. Microbix Biosystems (TSX:MBX)
Market cap: C$26.18 million; current share price: $0.27; year-to-date gain: 17.07 percent
Microbix Biosystems manufactures products for the global diagnostic industry, including viral and bacterial antigens and reagents. The company has two main products: Kinlytic Urokinase, a product used to treat blood clots, and LumiSort, a technology that helps boost cell populations.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.