Top 3 Canadian Biotech Stocks of 2023

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Which Canadian biotech stocks are performing the best in 2023? Here’s a look at the top three by share price performance.

Although it’s not as large as the US biotech industry, the Canadian biotech market is still making a name for itself on the global stage in terms of size and opportunities for life science investors.

In recent years, tech advancements in drug research and development have helped the biotech sector worldwide become an industry capable of providing returns for investors. Looking specifically at Canada, in 2021, the country's government committed to investing C$2.2 billion over seven years toward “growing a strong, competitive biomanufacturing and life sciences sector” through a strategy that includes “foster(ing) the growth of Canadian life sciences firms.”

Canada’s biotechnology industry is supported by a large network of research hospitals, universities and laboratories. “In addition to existing biomanufacturing and vaccine development capacity, Canada has many strategic core competencies including regenerative medicine, artificial intelligence in the field of drug discovery and development, vaccines, clinical trial expertise and genomics,” Andrew Casey, president and CEO of BIOTECanada, wrote in an op-ed.

Although the past few years have been rough for biotech companies, the top Canadian biotech stocks have managed to perform well, and some have continued their solid performance into 2023.

Below the Investing News Network profiles the top three Canadian biotech stocks on the TSX, TSXV and CSE. Year-to-date performance and share price data was compiled on March 29, 2023, using TradingView’s stock screener. All top Canadian biotech stocks listed had market caps between C$10 million and C$500 million at that time.

1. Satellos Bioscience (TSXV:MSCL)

Market cap: C$12.91 million; year-to-date gain: 66.67 percent

Satellos Biosciences is a regenerative medicine company developing novel small-molecule therapeutics for muscle regeneration, targeting a root cause of degenerative skeletal muscle diseases. Based on its proprietary discovery platform, MyoReGenX, Satello’s lead program is SAT-3153, an oral therapeutic drug aimed at restoring the human body’s muscle repair and regeneration process.

In early March, Satello announced further results from preclinical studies for SAT-3153 for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Chief Technology Officer Dr. Phil Lambert said the findings "build further confidence in SAT-3153’s potential as a treatment for Duchenne and other muscle disorders." The company is now moving on to the next steps, which include establishing the preferred oral dosing paradigm and working towards its investigational new drug (IND) submission, which includes the necessary pre-IND studies; it will be able to initiate human clinical trials later on.

2. BriaCell Therapeutics (TSX:BCT)

Market cap: C$146.49 million; year-to-date gain: 54.86 percent

With a focus on immuno-oncology, BriaCell Therapeutics is developing therapies for cancer management. Its lead drug candidate, Bria-IMT, is targeting third-line advanced breast cancer with fast-track status from the US Food and Drug Administration. Phase I/IIa safety and efficacy clinical trials have shown similar or superior results to other advanced or approved drugs.

In February, BriaCell shared positive survival data for a group of 11 patients with advanced metastatic breast cancer who were enrolled in the company's ongoing Phase II clinical trial testing for Bria-IMT in combination with Incyte's (NASDAQ:INCY) retifanlimab. At the time of the release, nine of the 11 patients remained alive, some of whom BriaCell President and CEO William V. Williams said "may have only had weeks or months to live prior to (the) treatment."

3. Defence Therapeutics (CSE:DTC)

Market cap: C$131.75 million; year-to-date gain: 37.31 percent

Defence Therapeutics is developing next-generation vaccines and antibody-drug conjugates using its proprietary ACCUM platform, which enables the precision delivery of vaccine antigens or antibody-drug conjugates in their intact form to target cells.

The biotech company announced in late March that it is conducting a final pre-clinical study aimed at validating the efficacy of AccuTOX, its lead drug candidate, as an injectable for solid tumors when combined with immune-checkpoint inhibitors. This is in preparation for a Phase I cancer clinical trial planned at the City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute.

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

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

Editorial Disclosure: BriaCell Therapeutics is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

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