Canada's Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY), a marijuana cultivator and distributor, has given early investors the ride of their lives since going public last June. Last week, for instance, the company's stock peaked at exactly $300 per share, representing a jaw-dropping 856% gain for the brave souls that bought this speculative IPO right off the bat.
Even though Tilray's shares have pulled back in a big way since reaching this gravity-defying peak a few days ago, the pot grower's valuation remains wildly disconnected from its near-term growth prospects. Put simply, growth investors should probably start to look elsewhere for more compelling opportunities moving forward.
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Amarin Corporation (NASDAQ: AMRN) and Viking Therapeutics (NASDAQ: VKTX), for example, are two biotech stocks that offer considerably more upside potential than Tilray does right now. Read on to find out more.
An unprecedented win for fish oil
Yesterday, Amarin reported that its highly refined fish oil pill Vascepa provided a significant cardiovascular benefit in patients with elevated triglyceride levels, despite being on statin therapy. Leading up to this top-line data readout, however, almost no one outside the company thought that Vascepa had a realistic shot at producing such a pronounced clinical benefit in this landmark cardiovascular outcomes trial. As a result, the biotech's shares more than tripled in value during yesterday's session.
Wall Street, though, thinks Amarin is still incredibly undervalued. Citi's analysts, for instance, immediately came out with a staggering upgrade, suggesting that the stock could hit $50 a share over the next 12 months. That price target implies a whopping 300% upside potential from current levels. Citi's awe-inspiring price target is arguably well-founded, however.
In short, Vascepa's sales are now forecast to reach a noteworthy $2.7 billion at peak -- that is, if the Food and Drug Administration agrees to grant a label expansion for this far larger target market that presently stands at around 70 million eligible patients in just the United States. A $50 price target, therefore, isn't exactly a blue-sky prediction. But one that may prove to be rather conservative when everything is said and done. Amarin, after all, is probably going to start fielding tender offers from a host of suitors soon.
The start of something special
Like Amarin, Viking also reported major clinical trial news this month, sending its shares soaring as well. Specifically, the drugmaker reported outstanding mid-stage results for its fatty liver disease candidate, VK2809, earlier this month -- catapulting the company into the upper tier of contenders vying to be the first to market for a severe form of fatty liver disease known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Although Viking is far from alone in the race to break into this potentially $35 billion a year marketplace, VK2809 stands out from the crowd for a couple of reasons.
First off, the drug was able to dramatically lower liver fat content across all doses after a mere 12 weeks. Viking also reported that VK2809 was well tolerated, with no serious adverse events occurring during the trial. The take home point is that VK2809 has a real shot at claiming the best-in-class prize in a rather crowded field.
The catch is that Viking may not be ready to push VK2809 into a pivotal-stage trial right now. Instead, the company is floating the idea of commencing a combined Phase 2/3 trial in order to assess the drug on a NASH approvable endpoint. That could put Viking another year or so behind the leaders in the field.
Even so, Viking should still be able to grab a nice chunk of this vast market with one of the most potent and safest options in its arsenal -- even if VK2809 ends up being the third or fourth drug approved. And that's the core reason why the Street's current 12-month price target on this stock implies a handsome 65% upside potential from here.
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