What are the top NASDAQ genetics stocks year-to-date? We run through the five biggest gainers so far this year.
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The genetics sector supports every other life science industry, with one of its contributions being the discovery of new genetic drivers of diseases.
In terms of the genetic testing market, this area has grown substantially over the last few years thanks to advances made in technology; in line with this has been an increase in chronic diseases and the development of testing kits for therapeutic areas with unmet medical needs.
Gene therapy is also a huge driver of growth in the overarching genetics market. It’s estimated that in 2020 this market was worth US$970.5 million, and it is expected to reach US$3.4 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 17.6 percent over that time.
This important fragment of the life science market is focused on how genes can be used to treat or prevent serious conditions in patients. This includes the potential for healthcare professionals to implement genes at the cellular level instead of using medication or surgery. This advanced methodology replaces “faulty” genes with new ones to potentially cure diseases.
Pharma and biotech companies often dabble in the genetics industry along with their core disciplines, showing that there are opportunities for companies of every size in this space. For interested investors, the top NASDAQ genetics stocks listed below have products related to gene therapy, cell therapy and genetic testing; some are also developing therapies for genetic diseases.
Data for this list was collected on July 13, 2021, using TradingView’s stock screener, and all top NASDAQ genetics stocks had market caps between US$50 million and US$500 million at that time.
1. Gritstone Bio (NASDAQ:GRTS)
Year-to-date gain: 111.6 percent; current share price: US$8.34
The first genetics stock on this list is Gritstone Bio, a clinical-stage biotech company developing tumor-specific cancer immunotherapies to fight various cancer types and infectious diseases. The company has built an artificial intelligence-driven platform to accurately identify T cell targets, and it has a portfolio of immunotherapies designed to instruct the immune system on recognizing and attacking these targets.
Gritstone’s candidate COVID-19 vaccine is in a Phase 1 study, supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of using self-amplifying mRNA and/or adenoviral vectors to deliver SARS-CoV-2 viral antigens that are not included in currently authorized vaccines. The company is also collaborating with Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) to use Gritstone’s vaccine platform to develop a cure for HIV.
2. Aeterna Zentaris (NASDAQ:AEZS)
Year-to-date gain: 92.27 percent; current share price: US$0.81
Biopharmaceutical company Aeterna Zentaris is developing and commercializing pharma and diagnostic products focused on areas of unmet needs, including adult growth hormone deficiency, childhood-onset growth hormone deficiency (CGHD), neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
In May, Aeterna Zentaris commenced a Phase 3 safety and efficacy study for evaluating macimorelin for the diagnosis of CGHD. The investigational new drug application for the study is active. That same month, the company also began a preclinical program in partnership with the University of Queensland to qualify macimorelin for clinical development as a potential treatment option for Lou Gehrig’s disease.
3. Immunome (NASDAQ:IMNM)
Year-to-date gain: 67.46 percent; current share price: US$16.21
Immunome has a proprietary platform to identify novel therapeutic antibodies and their targets by leveraging components of the immune system known as human memory B cells from patients who have learned to fight off a disease.
Immunome raised US$27 million in private placements in April. That same month, the company announced antibody selection for its IMM-BCP-01 antibody cocktail and shared data showing that IMM-BCP-01 neutralizes CDC SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in preclinical testing.
In May, Immunome received an additional US$4.3 million in funding from the US Department of Defense in collaboration with the Defense Health Agency for the continued development of IMM-BCP-01, bringing the company’s total defense department funding to date to US$17.6 million.
4. Ovid Therapeutics (NASDAQ:OVID)
Year-to-date gain: 65.8 percent; current share price: US$3.83
Ovid Therapeutics is developing a broad pipeline of medicines for patients with rare neurological disorders. The company’s drug candidate pipeline includes: OV329, a small-molecule GABA aminotransferase inhibitor for seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex and infantile spasms; OV882, a short hairpin RNA therapy approach for Angelman syndrome; and OV815, a genetic therapy approach for KIF1A-associated neurological disorder.
In March, Ovid closed on a royalty and license agreement, giving Japanese multinational Takeda Pharmaceutical Company (NYSE:TAK) global rights to develop and commercialize the investigational medicine soticlestat (TAK-935/OV935) for the treatment of developmental and epileptic encephalopathies, including Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Ovid received an upfront payment of US$196 million, and is eligible to receive up to an additional US$660 million upon achieving development, regulatory and sales milestones. Additionally, if approved and commercialized, Ovid will receive tiered double-digit royalties of up to 20 percent on sales of soticlestat.
5. Marker Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MRKR)
Year-to-date gain: 62.07 percent; current share price: US$2.35
Marker Therapeutics is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing various T cell-based immunotherapies and peptide-based vaccines for the treatment of hematological malignancies and solid tumor indications. In clinical studies, the company’s MultiTAA product candidates have been shown to be safe, contributing to durable anti-tumor responses.
Marker is advancing its first company-sponsored study of post-transplant acute myeloid leukemia in a Phase 2 study. In July, the company announced successful completion of the six patient safety lead-in portion of the Phase 2 trial as it continues to enroll patients in the main portion of the trial. Top-line data from the active disease group is expected in Q1 2022.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.