5 Top NASDAQ Biotech Stocks of Q2 2018

Biotech Investing

The biotech industry is a unique intersection of companies. Here’s a look at the top-gaining biotech companies on the NASDAQ so far in 2018.

Just touching the surface of the biotech industry’s capabilities, companies are finding new ways to fight cancers, endocrine disorders or even towards fibrosis.  

The Investing New Network (INN) is taking a look at what biotech companies made the biggest gains on the NASDAQ year to date, as the second quarter and the first half of 2018 come to a close.

The list below provides a broad list of clinical to commercial-stage biotech companies with robust news and pipeline updates investors have shown interest in.

The following list was taken from the Globe and Mail’s market filter and have market caps between $50 to $700 million. All data is current as of market close July 9, 2018, with figures listed in US dollars, unless otherwise noted.

1. Sesen Bio (NASDAQ:SESN)

Market cap: $156.82 million; year-to-date gain: 153.08 percent; current share price: $2.05

First on the list on our top NASDAQ biotech stocks year-to-date is Sesen Bio. The company is developing next-generation antibody-drug conjugate therapies to treat cancer based on Sesen’s Targeted Protein Therapeutics platform.

The company raised about $40 million in a public offering in late May. With the offering transaction, Sesen intends to use the proceeds to develop Vicinium, a treatment of high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and commercial-scale manufacturing capabilities for the drug, among other uses.

In the same month, the company released data from its Phase 3 registration trial for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer achieved 42 percent complete response rate at three months. The data was from Vicinium’s Vista trial.

2. Viking Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VKTXW)

Market cap: $618.21 million; year-to-date gain: 131.70 percent; current share price: $10.38

Second on the top NASDAQ biotech stocks year-to-date list is Viking Therapeutics. Viking focuses on therapies for metabolic and endocrine disorders, using its expertise in metabolism to develop its therapeutics. Some product candidates include VK5211, and VK0612 in the clinic for patients recovering from hip fracture and type 2 diabetes, respectively.

In June, the company priced a public offering at $67.5 million, or $9.00 per 7.5 million shares. With the transaction, Viking intends to use the funds for general research and development, working capital and general corporate purposes.

Earlier in the same month, Viking completed enrollment of its Phase 2 study of VK2809 in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Top-line results for the trial are expected in the second half of 2018.

3. Galectin Therapeutics (NASDAQ:GALT)

Market cap: $253.23 million; year-to-date gain:74.28 percent; current share price: $6.71

Middle of the pack on our top NASDAQ biotech stocks year-to-date list is Galectin Therapeutics. The company is a leading therapeutics company in targeting galectin proteins, this company is directing its cause towards treating fibrosis and cancer. The company has one drug candidates for those indications and plaque psoriasis, GR-MD-02.

Late in Q2, Galectin received a new patent expected to provide broad protection for the use of GR-MD-02 for compositions, methods of using and methods of manufacturing compositions capable of treating pulmonary fibrosis.

The company also announced it will move onto Phase 3 clinical trial program with its galectin-3 inhibitor GR-MD-02 in NASH cirrhosis after a meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

4. CTI BioPharma (NASDAQ:CTIC)

Market cap: $259.75 million; year-to-date gain: 64.70 percent; current share price: $4.48

Next is CTI, which acquires, develops and commercializes a spectrum of blood-related cancers. The company’s late stage development pipeline includes pacritinib, a treatment for patients with myelofibrosis.

After a data review by the Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) of PAC203, the committee decided there were no drug or dose-related safety concerns including cardiac or bleeding events. This means the study will continue without any modifications, top-line data from the trial is expected in Q1 2019.

In May, CTI reported a jump in total revenues to $10.5 million from $0.8 million in Q1 2018 compared to the same quarter in 2017. This increase was primarily from $10 million in milestone revenue from Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE:TEVA).

5. Aptose Biosciences (NASDAQ:APTO)

Market cap: $119 million; year-to-date gain: 54.86 percent current share price: $3.50

Last on the NASDAQ biotech stocks list year-to-date is also second on our top TSX biotech stocks list year-to-date. This clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing personalized medicines for unmet needs in oncology. In the company’s pipeline, Aptose Biosciences is hoping to develop oncology therapies without overlapping toxicities such as negative side effects.

This quarter has proved to be full with news for Aptose: the company shared big news of its clinical hold being lifted by the FDA after three years at the end of the quarter. The hold was for the Phase 1B trial for APTO-253, with hematologic cancer patients.

Prior to that in early May, Aptose entered into a license agreement with CrystalGenomics (KOSDAQ:083790) to acquire CG-806 rights in China. This adds China as a territory to its global rights, giving the company nearly worldwide rights (excluding Korea) to develop and commercialize the drug candidate, which is in development for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), B-cell malignancies and other hematologic malignancies.

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

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