As 2019 comes to a close, the Investing News Network is profiling the five top genetics stocks on the NASDAQ year-to-date.
The genetics industry supports every other life science industry, with one contribution 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 is an increase in chronic diseases and testing kits being developed for therapeutics areas with unmet medical needs.
Gene therapy is also a huge driver of growth in the overarching genetics market. In 2018, it was estimated that this market was worth US$670 million, and it is expected to reach US$5.18 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 33.9 percent over that time.
This fragment of the market is made up of methods that use genes to treat or prevent serious conditions. This includes the potential for healthcare professionals to implement a gene into a patient’s cell instead of using medication or surgery. This method replaces a “faulty” gene with a new one to potentially cure the disease.
Pharma and biotech companies often dabble in the genetics industry along with their core disciplines, showing there are opportunities for companies of every size in this space. The companies listed below have products related to gene and cell therapy and genetic testing, or they are developing therapies for genetic diseases.
Data was collected from TradingView’s market filter, and all companies have market capitalizations between US$50 million and US$500 million. All information was current as of December 9, 2019.
1. IVERIC Bio (NASDAQ:ISEE)
Market cap: US$216.51 million; year-to-date gain: 341.98 percent; current share price: US$5.30
IVERIC Bio’s area of focus is on gene therapy technology related to retinal diseases. Its lead product candidate is Zimura, which is being developed to treat geographic atrophy secondary to dry age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt disease.
In the fourth quarter, IVERIC Bio announced that it will begin a second clinical trial of Zimura to treat geographic atrophy secondary to dry age-related macular degeneration and estimates it will begin enrolling patients in Q1 2020.
2. NeuBase Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NBSE)
Market cap: US$115.91 million; year-to-date gain: 289.1 percent; current share price: US$6.79
NeuBase Therapeutics is targeting rare genetic diseases with its modular antisense peptide nucleic acid antisense oligonucleotide (PATrOL) platform. Through the PATrOL platform, the company is targeting rare, genetic neurological disorders.
3. Dyadic International (NASDAQ:DYAI)
Market cap: US$158.11 million; year-to-date gain: 207.94 percent; current share price: US$5.81
Dyadic International is developing a gene expression platform based off the fungus Myceliophthora thermophila, which the company refers to as C1. The company is using C1 technology to do research, development and commercialization of human and animal vaccines and drugs and monoclonal antibodies in addition to other therapeutic proteins.
In November, the company announced that it had “achieved human-like glycan structures” from its C1 cell line.
“This is a key milestone for our C1 glyco-engineering program where we are targeting the development of C1 strains which are capable of imparting various human like glycoforms such as G0, G0F, G2, and G2F on various types of therapeutic proteins,” Ronen Tchelet, chief scientific officer of Dyadic International, said in the release. “Reaching G0 glycosylation levels of up to 95% has exceeded our initial objective of 90% and is an important breakthrough for our C1 gene expression platform.”
4. Vermillion (NASDAQ:VRMC)
Market cap: US$73.90 million; year-to-date gain: 153.33 percent; current share price: US$0.76
Vermillion develops diagnostic tests and is focused on oncology, hematology, cardiology and women’s health.
Under the company’s umbrella is ASPiRA Labs, which is focused on its genetics testing ASPiRA GenetiX platform. ASPiRA GenetiX has the capabilities for targeted genetic testing options for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in addition to carrier screening options to help healthcare practitioners with medical management for their patients.
In December, Vermillion announced that ASiPRA Labs entered a pilot program with Genome Smart. Through the collaboration, Genome Smart’s platform, GenomeBrain, will be provided to a select number of providers to help better identify patients who are at risk of hereditary cancers or of passing the diseases down to children.
5. Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings (NASDAQ:ARCT)
Market cap: US$159.12 million; year-to-date gain: 132.89 percent; current share price: US$10.52
Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings develops RNA therapies for diseases with high unmet medical needs. In its drug development pipeline is its wholly owned program, Lunar-OTC, which is a messenger RNA to treat a life-threatening genetic disease called ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency.
The company announced in November that it is expanding its platform with STARR technology for human and animal vaccine applications.
“We are pleased to add the STARR technology to our platform,” Pad Chivukula, chief scientific officer of Arcturus, said in the release. “Our expertise in RNA design and manufacturing combined with our LUNAR nanoparticle delivery system may provide a unique solution to companies developing human and animal health vaccines.”
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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.