Whether for personal reasons or for making big investing gains, investors interested in the biotech industry should be acquainted with this sector.
Oncology covers every area of cancer care from diagnosis to treatment, which may seem broad, but it is one of the biggest sectors in the biotech industry—especially with the emerging immuno-oncology space.
According to Deloitte’s 2018 global life sciences outlook, oncology is set to have the highest projected worldwide sales by 2022 out of any other therapeutic area for prescription and OTC therapies, increasing from US$93.7 billion in 2016 to US$192.2 billion in 2022.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Biotech and pharmaceutical companies alike are working to develop the best-in-class therapeutics to accommodate this need, but there’s still much left to be discovered.
Whether for personal reasons or for making big investing gains, investors interested in the biotech industry should be acquainted with this sector. While the big pharmas have drugs in oncology, many of which are the standard care of treatment for specific cancers and tumors, this particular sector will continue to grow.
The following companies have the highest market capitalization working in oncology specifically. This list was gathered through InvestSnips micro-cap biotech companies list with all companies having a market cap between $50 million to $500 million. All figures below are quoted in US dollars and are current as of market close May 29, 2018.
1. ArQule (NASDAQ:ARQL)
Market cap: $448.61 million; current share price: $4.85
First on our top oncology companies list is on the NASDAQ and is a biopharmaceutical company, ArQule. The company is working on R&D and development for cancers and rare diseases. With five drug candidates in its pipeline, all are small molecules for targeted therapy.
For oncology, the company has seven ongoing clinical trials for solid tumors, lymphoma, endometrial cancer, and AKT mutations to name a few. In the company’s Q1 financial results, the company reported a $4.13 million in R&D revenue compared to zero from the previous Q1 in 2017 due to payments from licensing agreements.
2. GTx (NASDAQ:GTXI)
Market cap: $447.44 million; current share price: $19.59
Predominantly focused on therapies for stress urinary incontinence (SUI), GTx also has a drug candidate in its pipeline for prostate cancer. For the latter the company uses selective androgen receptor degrader (SARD) technology hopefully to treat men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC)—many of which do not respond or are resistant to current approved therapies. The drug is currently being developed preclinical.
In GTx’s Q1 financial results, the company reported $11 million compared to $4.2 million for research and development costs compared to the same quarter in 2017 mainly due to the clinical trials for SUI.
3. CTI BioPharma (NASDAQ:CTIC)
Market cap: $280.027 million; current share price: $4.57
CTI is focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing novel targeted therapies for blood-related cancers which offer unique benefits. In its late-stage development pipeline, CTI’s lead product candidate Pacritinib is for indications in Myelofibrosis.
Aside from Pacritinib, CTI also has Pixuvri for relapsed aggressive B-cell NHL—which was recently approved—and aggressive NHL, as well as Tosedostat for relapsed/refractory AML/MDS.
4. AVEO (NASDAQ:AVEO)
Market cap: $263.88 million; current share price: $2.18
AVEO is a biopharmaceutical company advancing a broad portfolio of therapeutics for oncology and other unmet needs and has partnered for all of its clinical trials. In oncology, Tivozanib, Ficlatuzumab and AV-203 are in trials for a variety of indications including pancreatic cancer, AML, esophageal cancer and more.
Tivozanib is an already approved drug in the European Union and was originally discovered by Kyowa Hakko Kirin for advanced renal cell carcinoma. It’s shown to significantly reduce regulatory T-cell product in preclinical models allow potentially enhanced activity when combined with other immune modulating therapies.
5. Aeglea BioTherapeutics (NASDAQ:AGLE)
Market cap: $232.14 million; current share price: $10.39
This clinical-stage biotech company has a pipeline in human enzyme-based approaches in therapeutic areas of rare diseases and cancer. Pegzilarginase is the company’s investigational therapy treating an arginase 1 deficiency as a monotherapy in arginine-dependant therapies such as small cell lung cancer.
Aeglea currently has two drugs in Phase 1 and 2 trials: Pegzilarginase and Pembrolizumab for solid tumors and extensive disease small cell lung cancer.
6. Fortress Biotech (NASDAQ:FBIO)
Market cap: $182.51 million; current share price: $3.39
Rather than being a singluar company, Fortress is combination of 10 companies equalling out to over 20 products in its pipeline. Fortress leverages licensing agreements, acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures and or public and private financing to product additional funding to support its research and development programs.
In oncology the company has a variety of drugs for indications such as glioblastoma, AML, metastatic breast cancer, and other cancer varieties. Fortress’s main companies—aside from its own—working on oncology indications is Mustang Bio (NASDAQ:MBIO) and Checkpoint Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CKPT).
7. MEI Pharma (NASDAQ:MEIP)
Market cap: $116.82 million; current share price: $3.15
This US-based oncology company has all is one of the first on this list to have all of its programs just in oncology. MEI’s drug candidate portfolio includes Pracinostat for AML and MDS in its pivotal and clinical proof-of-concept trial, respectively. There’s also three other candidates for blood cancers and HER2-negative breast cancer.
In 2016, Pracinostat was granted breakthrough therapy designation for the treatment of newly diagnosed AML for patients unfit for intensive chemotherapy. Later the company entered into a licensing, development and commercialization agreement with Helsinn Healthcare a Swiss pharmaceutical company with the drug candidate.
8. Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SNSS)
Market cap: $82.14 million; current share price: $2.27
Sunesis Pharmaceuticals has all of its pipeline dedicated to oncology treatments, such as AML, solid tumors and B-cell malignancies, one of which is partnered with Takeda Pharmaceuticals (TYO:4502).
Two out of the four drug candidates are in Phase 2 trials, TAK-580 and Vosaroxin. The first is the drug partnered with Takeda, it has a specific oral pan-RAF kinase inhibitor with a distinct molecular signature. Whereas the Vosaroxin is an anti-cancer quinolone derivative, a class-compound which has not been previously used for potential cancer treatments.
9. Tracon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:TCON)
Market cap: $80.27 million; current share price: $2.75
Tracon is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel targeted therapeutics for cancer, age-related macular degeneration and fibrotic diseases. The company’s lead product candidate is TRC105, which is in the clinic for the treatment of multiple solid tumor types in combination with inhibitors of the VEGF pathway.
Other drug candidates in its pipeline include TRC102 for glioblastoma, mesothelioma, solid tumors, TRC694 for myeloma, and TRC253 for prostate cancer—which is also partnered with Janssen.
10. Rexahn Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:RNN)
Market cap: $70.79 million; current share price: $2.17
Closing out our list of 10 top oncology companies is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that is also devoted to developing targeted therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Rexahn’s development program targets specific proteins which are localized in human cancer cells but not in healthy tissue cells, ideally to minimize the toxicities associated with traditional oncology treatments and maximize the efficacy.
The company has three drug candidates in its pipeline in every stage from pre-clinical and Phase 2 trial development. RX-3117, RX-5902 and RX-0201 are for indications in metastatic pancreatic and advanced bladder cancer, triple negative breast cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.