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With 2021 coming to a close, that means it’s time to look back on the top NASDAQ biotech stocks of the year.

Click here to read the previous top NASDAQ biotech stocks article.

This year, the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (INDEXNASDAQ:NBI) has managed to mostly hold on to the stellar gains it made in 2021 despite the high volatility across global markets. Starting out the year at 4,761.94 points in January, the index was putting up 4,289.81 points on December 7, 2022.

While the index has certainly had its share of ups and downs over the past few years, in 2022 it’s still keeping up with, and at times outdoing, the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:INX) once again.

More growth could be in store in the future. According to a recent report from Grand View Research, the global biotechnology market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.9 percent between now and 2030 to reach a valuation of US$3.89 trillion.

Driving that growth will be favorable government policies, investment in the sector, increased demand for synthetic biology and an increase in chronic disorders such as cancer, heart disease and hypertension.

Unsurprisingly, the top NASDAQ biotech stocks have seen sizeable share price increases this past year. Below the Investing News Network profiles the year’s five top gainers and what drove their share prices upwards. Data was compiled on December 6, 2022, using TradingView’s stock screener. All NASDAQ biotech stocks on this list had market caps between US$50 million and US$500 million at that time.

1. Voyager Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:VYGR)

Market cap: US$242.07 million; year-to-date gain: 122.71 percent

The first top NASDAQ biotech on the list is Voyager Therapeutics. The company is advancing early stage programs using its proprietary adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids to develop gene therapies for diseases related to the central nervous system. Its pipeline includes gene therapies for Huntington’s Disease, monogenic ALS, spinal muscular atrophy, GBA1 mutations and HER1+ brain metastases.

Voyager recently inked an agreement to give Novartis (NYSE:NVS) “options to license novel AAV capsids generated from Voyager’s RNA-driven TRACERTM capsid discovery platform for potential use with three undisclosed (central nervous system) targets and options to access capsids for two additional targets to be agreed on in the future.”

Voyager stock reached its highest point in 2022 on April 20, hitting US$10.60.


Market cap: US$102.78 million; year-to-date gain: 72.5 percent

Imara is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing novel therapeutics to treat patients suffering from serious diseases, including rare inherited genetic disorders of hemoglobin.

In October, the company announced it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with clinical-stage precision oncology firm Enliven Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ENLV), which is focused on the discovery and development of next-generation small molecule kinase inhibitors. This NASDAQ stock hit a yearly high of US$5.26 on November 11.

3. Anixa Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ:ANIX)

Market cap: US$153 million; year-to-date gain: 64.77 percent

Next on the top NASDAQ biotech stock list is Anixa Biosciences, which is developing therapies and vaccines that harnesses the body's immune system with a focus on critical unmet needs in oncology and infectious disease.

The company's pipeline portfolio includes a cancer immunotherapy program being developed in collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center, which uses chimeric endocrine receptor T-cell (CER-T) technology, and novel vaccine being developed in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic to prevent breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Anixa's share price hit its highest point in 2022 on September 21, reaching US$6.25.

4. Ardelyx Inc. (NASDAQ:ARDX)

Market cap: US$348.68 million; year-to-date gain: 64.73 percent

Biotechnology firm Ardelyx develops and commercializes first-in-class medicines that meet significant unmet medical needs. The company's first approved product, IBSRELA® (tenapanor) is now available in the United States and Canada. Ardelyx' pipeline portfolio includes Phase 3 XPHOZAH® (tenapanor), a novel product candidate to control serum phosphorus in adult patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) on dialysis; and Phase 2 RDX013, for the potential treatment of hyperkalemia, which affects patients with kidney and heart disease.

In mid-November, Ardelyx announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee voted that the benefits of XPHOZAH® outweigh its risks for the control of serum phosphorus in adult patients with CKD on dialysis. This NASDAQ genetics stock spiked to its highest point in 2022 on November 18 to reach US$2.19.

5. VectivBio Holding AG (NASDAQ:VECT)

Market cap: US$352.69 million; year-to-date gain: 59.68 percent

Last on our top NASDAQ biotech stocks is VectivBio, which has a focus on discovering and developing treatments for patients with severe rare conditions. The clinical-stage biotechnology company's lead product candidate is apraglutide, a next-generation, long-acting synthetic GLP-2 analog being developed for a range of rare gastrointestinal diseases, including short bowel syndrome with intestinal failure and Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease. The company is also advancing its modular, small molecule CoMET platform to address a broad range of inherited metabolic diseases that were previously not treatable with medicines.

In mid-October, VectivBio announced positive interim data from its ongoing Phase 2 STARS Nutrition study evaluating the safety, pharmacokinetics and efficacy of apraglutide. VectivBio stock reached its highest point in 2022 on October 13, hitting US$9.29.

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.

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