We’re halfway through the year, which means it’s time to reflect on the top performing NASDAQ pharma stocks year-to-date.
The end of each quarter is an opportune time to reflect on the top performing stocks in each industry — including the pharmaceutical sector.
During Q2, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first chemoimmunotherapy regime for patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. The drug, called Polivy, was developed by Genentech, which is a division of Roche Holding (OTCQX:RHHBY).
While drug pricing continues to plague the United States — a fact that isn’t anticipated to change any time soon — interest in the pharmaceutical space remains hotter than ever, with more companies developing therapies for rare diseases.
Below, the Investing News Network profiles the five top pharma stocks on the NASDAQ year-to-date. Data for this list was compiled using TradingView‘s stock screener. All companies listed had market caps between US$50 million and US$500 million as of July 3, 2019, and all data was current at that time.
1. Chiasma (NASDAQ:CHMA)
Market cap: US$250.01 million; current share price: $7.87; year-to-date gain: 153.05 percent
Chiasma is a company with a focus on helping patients with rare and life-threatening diseases who have difficulties with their treatment options. The company’s Transient Permeability Enhancer platform assists in the development of oral alternatives for medications that are currently only available as injections.
In June, the company provided an update on its capsule candidate, Mycapssa. The product is undergoing two Phase 3 clinical trials, Chiasma Optimal and Mpowered; they should have top line data released in Q3 2019 and in 2020, respectively.
2. Syndax Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SNDX)
Market cap: US$247.93 million; current share price: US$9.15; year-to-date gain: 105.62 percent
Syndax Pharmaceuticals is developing a range of products geared towards the treatment of cancer. The company’s lead product candidate is entinostat, which is in development together with exemestane to treat advanced hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Entinostat has also been combined with other drugs to potentially treat various solid tumors.
The company released its Q1 2019 financial results in early May, highlighting that its E2112 Phase 3 registration trial of entinostate together with exemestane passed fourth interim overall survival analysis. According to the release, the next assessment will be done later this year.
3. Fortress Biotech (NASDAQ:FBIO)
Market cap: US$101.76 million; current share price: US$1.56; year-to-date gain: 81.4 percent
Fortress Biotech in-licenses and develops a range of clinical-stage products. As it currently stands, the company has at least 25 programs in clinical development through its subsidiaries, organizations it has founded and organizations in which it has minority ownership. Its product candidates target six key areas, including oncology, rare diseases and gene therapy.
In early June, the company announced that Avenue Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ATXI), a company it founded, had released top line data from its second Phase 3 trial of intravenous tramadol. Tramadol is currently approved in the United States to treat different ranges of pain in adults.
4. Acasti Pharma (NASDAQ:ACST)
Market cap: US$106.26 million; current share price: US$1.26; year-to-date gain: 63.48 percent
Acasti Pharma has been targeting unmet medical needs for over a decade. Its lead product candidate, CaPre, is in Phase 3 testing for the treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia, a condition resulting from too much fat in the blood system. The Phase 3 trials, Trilogy 1 and Trilogy 2, are currently happening at the same time and intend to monitor the safety and efficacy of the treatment in patients.
At the beginning of June, Acasti Pharma announced that the Trilogy 2 trial had reached complete patient randomization. Top line results for Trilogy 1 are expected by December, while top line results for Trilogy 2 will follow in January 2020.
5. Veru (NASDAQ:VERU)
Market cap: US$140.02 million; current share price: US$2.23; year-to-date gain: 59.29 percent
Veru’s primary area of focus is prostate cancer. The company has several products under its prostate cancer pipeline, including zuclomiphene citrate (VERU-944) and bisindole (VERU-1110). Zuclomiphene is in a Phase 2 clinical trial to treat hot flashes in men with prostate cancer, while bisindole is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial in men with metastatic refractory prostate cancer.
In early June, Veru announced that it had added another prostate cancer drug to its development pipeline, VERU-100. VERU-100 aims to treat hormone-sensitive advanced prostate cancer.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.