Cancer treatment is one of the hottest areas of healthcare investing, with personalized treatments like gene therapy looking pretty promising. In fact, investments in cancer therapies are expected to rise by almost $250 billion by 2023, from $150 billion in 2018. This is because the disease, including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma, continues to affect the masses across the globe.
Nonetheless, there are companies that are coming up with innovative methods to cure this malaise. And these companies are great investment choices for long-term investors. Let’s, thus, take a look at these crusaders against cancer.
Major Drug Manufacturer — Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company’s BMY cancer immunotherapy Opdivo is widely estimated to be the world’s fourth best-selling drug, according to EvaluatePharma. Sales are expected to increase to $11.3 billion by 2024 from $7.6 billion in 2018. Opdivo is currently approved in several countries, including the United States, the EU and Japan, for several cancer indications. Opdivo became the first PD-1 inhibitor to be approved for a hematological malignancy — classical Hodgkin lymphoma — in both the United States and the EU.
But, it’s just not Opdivo. Bristol-Myers Squibb has lined up another superb immunotherapy, Yervoy. To top it, the company’s leukemia chemotherapy Sprycel and other drugs including Orencia and Eliquis continue to drive the top line.
Bristol-Myers Squibb also plans to acquire Celgene Corporation CELG to get the world’s second best-selling drug Revlimid. It is used to treat blood cancer.
The Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company’s expected earnings growth for the current year is 7.5%, more than the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry’s estimated rally of 1.6%. The company has surpassed the broader industry over the past month (+6.0% vs -2.9%). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Molecular Diagnostic Company — Exact Sciences
One of the major causes of cancer death is colon cancer. Majority of the people between the age of 50 and 85 are prone to colorectal cancer, but, many don’t go for checkups because of the high cost associated with a colonoscopy. Exact Sciences Corporation EXAS, thus, came up with Cologuard in 2014 as an alternative to a colonoscopy. Not much cost is involved and the patient just needs to collect a stool sample for test in lab.
Cologuard helped Exact Sciences garner $454 million in revenues last year after it screened nearly 934,000 people. This year, 334,000 people have been screened with Cologuard, thereby boosting first-quarter revenues by 79% compared to the same period last year.
It’s also worth mentioning that Cologuard is the first and the only FDA-approved non-invasive DNA screening option for colorectal cancer. Last August, Exact Sciences entered into an agreement with the drug giant Pfizer PFE to co-promote its Cologuard test for the detection of colorectal cancer in the United States. This nationwide co-promotion deal will be valid through 2021-end.
The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company’s expected earnings growth for the current year is 27.9%, way more than the Medical - Biomedical and Genetics industry’s estimated rally of 6.8%. The company has surpassed the broader industry on a year-to-date basis (+90.7% vs -2.3%).
Precision Oncology Company — Guardant Health
Examining cancer reappearance is widely expected to be a $15-billion market in the United States in the near term, while detecting patients with the risk of cancer is poised to be an $18-billion annual market. Guardant Health, Inc. GH, which is known for developing liquid biopsy (examination of tissue) to detect cancer using blood tests, seems to be in a great position to make the most in the aforesaid markets.
Lest we forget, Guardant Health has progressed by leaps and bounds after it launched LUNAR DNA test that helps researchers detect cancer at an early stage. To top it, the company’s Guardant360 and GuardantOMNI products have played a significant role in identifying late-stage cancer.
Guardant Health has successfully notched upbeat earnings results in recent times, thanks to its aim to match cancer patients with customized treatments.
The Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s expected earnings growth for the current quarter is 79.9% against the Medical - Biomedical and Genetics industry’s estimated decline of 5.4%. The company has surpassed the broader industry so far this year (+151.0% vs -2.3%).
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