With Q3 over and Q4 already underway, here the Investing News Network looks at the top-gaining NASDAQ biotech stocks so far in 2018.
Meeting at an intersection of personalized medicine, immunotherapies, biopreservation and more, the biotech space continues to evolve with innovative therapies.
Q3 2018, which took place over the summer months, may have been more quiet compared to other times of the year, but biotech companies still had a fair share of news. Whether it was presenting at conferences or releasing financial results, these announcements likely spurred impressive year-to-date (YTD) share price increases.
The Investing New Network (INN) is taking a look at what biotech companies made the biggest gains on the NASDAQ YTD with Q3 officially in the books and Q4 already underway.
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 $500 million. All data is current as of market close October 10, 2018, with figures listed in US dollars, unless otherwise noted.
1. Arqule (NASDAQ:ARQL)
Market cap: $441.80 million; year-to-date gain: 147.27 percent; current share price: $4.06
Arqule is first on our top NASDAQ biotech stocks list YTD. Working on a pipeline of small molecules for cancer and rare disease indications, the company has five drug candidates. Derazantinib, is the company’s most advanced drug, which is currently in a registrational trial for a liver tumor.
Another drug candidate of the company was given fast track designation mid-September for a very rare pediatric genetic disorder. The drug has already been given rare pediatric disease designation and orphan drug designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Announced in August, Arqule noted it had over $46 million in cash or cash equivalents and marketable securities, as reported in its Q2 2018 financial report. In July the company also raised $70 million in proceeds with a public offering.
2. Sesen Bio (NASDAQ:SESN)
Market cap: $134.77 million; year-to-date gain: 128.11 percent; current share price: $1.75
Sesen bio is second on the top NASDAQ biotech stocks YTD list. The company is developing next-generation antibody-drug conjugate therapies to treat cancer based on Sesen’s Targeted Protein Therapeutics platform.
As reported in its Q2 financial results, the company has sufficient capital funds to operate its plans into 2020. Its cash position was $62.9 million at the end of Q2, which is $50 million more than the same quarter the previous year.
Board and CEO transitions also took place over the quarter, which may have caught investor attention. Aside from new board members, CEO Thomas Cannell was appointed. Cannell has close to three decades of experience with the Big Pharma Merck (NYSE:MRK).
3. Biolife Solutions (NASDAQ:BLFS)
Market cap: $227.21 million; year-to-date gain: 116 percent; current share price: $12.70
BioLife Solutions is working on designing preservation solutions for maintaining the viability and health of cellular matter and tissues during freezing, transportation and storage. This is done with the company’s proprietary bio-packaging technology and patented understanding of cellular damage and death.
BioLife increased its ownership with SAVSU technologies from a $5 million investment increasing its ownership by over ten percent. The privately-held SAVSU manufactures cloud-connected storage and transport containers for bio-products and pharmaceuticals.
Earlier in the quarter, BioLife announced a $20 million capital investment from Casdin Capital to fund growth.
4. Immutep (NASDAQ:IMMP)
Market cap: $87.75 million; year-to-date gain: 104.46 percent; current share price: $2.90
Working on immunotherapies to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases, Immutep has four drug candidates in its pipeline. The lead candidate is targeting an immune control mechanism which partially regulates the natural cancer-killer T cells.
This lead candidate received investigational new drug approval from the FDA in late July. This leaves the company on track to initiate the Phase 2 study in the second half of 2018.
Later in the quarter, Immutep received a A$1.9 million tax rebate from the French Government for research and development related costs. According to the press release, the company will use these funds to support ongoing planned global clinical development of its drug in preclinical development.
5. Chiasma (NASDAQ:CHMA)
Market cap: $80.96 million; year-to-date gain: 100.59 percent current share price: $3.32
Focused on discovering treatments for rare and serious chronic diseases, Chiasma lands last on our top NASDAQ biotech stocks YTD list. The company uses its transient permeability enhancer technology platform to develop oral medications that are only available as injections.
In late September, Chiasma landed on our weekly top NASDAQ biotech stocks list from its share price increase. The company released its Q2 2018 financial results with a cash position of $66.9 million and plans to maintain at least $35 million by the end of the year.
Chiasma also completed the enrollment of the MPowered Phase 3 clinical trial of Octreotide capsules for patients with a hormone disorder.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.