For more risk-tolerant investors, biotechs are screaming buys. This space is consistently on the Street’s radar as a single catalyst such as a positive FDA advisory committee (AdCom) outcome or promising trial results can send shares through the roof. For example, Agile Therapeutics (AGRX) saw share prices skyrocket 223% in just one day after an FDA AdCom vote resulted in an approval recommendation for its Twirla contraceptive patch.
However, the reverse also holds true meaning that biotech stocks carry their fair share of risk. So how are investors supposed to pick the biotech names most poised to outperform the market? We suggest looking to Wall Street analysts.
While the consensus on a given stock can be resoundingly mixed, when all of the analysts covering the stock are onboard it’s a signal that can’t be ignored. With this in mind, we used the TipRanks Stock Screener to narrow down 3 biotechs that have garnered exclusively bullish calls over the last three months. Not to mention each of the stocks on our list boast huge upside potential from the current share price.
Let’s get started.
Intra-Cellular Therapies (ITCI)
Intra-Cellular wants to help the millions of people living with mental health conditions around the world. With one and five people being affected by mental illness in the U.S. alone, the implications of the biotech’s unique treatments are nothing short of monumental.
Its lead product candidate, lumateperone, was designed to provide selective and simultaneous modulation of three neurotransmitter pathways implicated in severe mental illness, namely serotonin, dopamine and glutamate.
While the FDA had previously announced that it would hold an AdCom for the therapy’s use in treating schizophrenia, the panel was cancelled after ITCI submitted additional nonclinical data. This data suggests that the drug is metabolized differently in humans and animals, and thus any safety issues witnessed in animals have no bearing on its safety for human use.
Ahead of the FDA’s approval decision scheduled for on or before December 27, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Charles Duncan is impressed. He believes that ITCI’s “rapid” turnaround before the action date should work in the company’s favor. In addition, he views the FDA's decision to not hold a panel meeting as suggesting that the new drug application data package is “robust”. All of this lends itself to the five-star analyst’s conclusion that the second half of 2019 and early 2020 will be "transformational" for the biotech, prompting him to reiterate his Buy rating. With a $27 price target, the upside potential comes in at 181%. (To watch Duncan’s track record, click here)
Like Duncan, the rest of the Street is bullish on ITCI. Based on the 6 Buy recommendations assigned in the last three months and 158% upside potential, it’s clear this ‘Strong Buy’ biotech has a lot to brag about. (See Intra-Cellular stock analysis on TipRanks)
Moderna Inc. (MRNA)
Moderna is revolutionizing the way we treat a wide variety of diseases through its use of messenger RNA (mRNA). mRNA is the set of instructions that cells use to make proteins and send them to different parts of the body. With a multitude of programs in development, one top analyst warns investors not to miss out on this unique opportunity.
Roth Capital’s Yasmeen Rahimi argues that MRNA is well funded, and is thus capable of bringing its 16 clinical programs to their next turning points. Her conclusion is not only based on the company’s continued clinical and preclinical progress, but also recent positive developments.
On October 22, MRNA announced that the FDA had given its investigational mRNA therapeutic for propionic acidemia (PA), mRNA-3927, Fast Track designation. PA is caused when the body is unable to break down proteins and fats, leading to the buildup of harmful chemicals. As there currently aren’t any therapies for the condition on the market, there is a desperate need for a treatment. It should also be noted that this designation bodes well for MRNA as it enables early and frequent communication with the FDA and a rolling submission of the marketing application.
All of the above factors played into Rahimi’s decision to initiate her MRNA coverage with a bullish call. At her price target of $24, shares could climb 53% higher over the next twelve months. (To watch Rahimi’s track record, click here)
As only Buy ratings have been issued in the last ten months, it’s no question that this biotech is a ‘Strong Buy’. Not to mention its $31 average price target puts the upside potential at 83%. (See Moderna stock analysis on TipRanks)
Revance Therapeutics, Inc. (RVNC)
Revance Therapeutics is using innovative techniques to develop a new category of neuromodulators for both aesthetic and therapeutic treatments. Neuromodulators include injectable and non-injectable therapies that can be used to treat an array of conditions like persistent pain, spasticity, movement disorders, epilepsy as well as several others. Following its third quarter earnings results, many analysts believe that RVNC is set to take off.
On November 4, the company stated that it’s on track to submit its FDA Biologics License Application (BLA) for its lead candidate, DaxibotulinumtoxinA for Injection (DAXI), to treat glabellar lines later this month. Adding to the good news, RVNC completed enrollment for the ASPEN-1 Phase 3 clinical trial for DAXI to treat cervical dystonia (CD), a condition that causes painful neck spasms.
“One concern for RVNC investors following the recent announcement of the proposed Mylan/Upjohn (Pfizer) tie-up involved the potential impact of the transaction on the ongoing collaboration with Mylan to develop a biosimilar Botox. RVNC issued an 8K this morning announcing an amendment to the collaboration that extends the clock on MYL's opt-in decision to 4/30/2020, in return for a $5 million payment. The additional time should allow MYL and Upjohn to conduct a portfolio review ahead of transaction close expected in mid-2020,” he explained. Along with his Buy rating, Belanger’s price target implies shares could jump 102% over the next twelve months. (To watch Belanger’s track record, click here)
Similarly, the rest of the Street likes what it’s seeing. With 100% of analysts backing the biotech, RVNC is a ‘Strong Buy’. In addition, its $33 average price target suggests 111% upside from the current share price. (See Revance Therapeutics stock analysis on TipRanks)