While the bear market might have convinced some investors that growth stocks are permanently out of fashion, you don’t need to look very far to find a few companies that are bucking the trend by powering forward despite gloomy conditions.
In fact, there are several biopharma businesses whose futures are bright enough to continue offering attractive returns even when the rest of the market is falling. Many are approachable with relatively small sums of money, like $1,000, thanks to the intensity with which they’re expected to grow. Let’s examine two candidates that are simmering with potential and ready for purchasing right now.
1. Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX -0.16%) is a rare disease drug developer that’s worth an investment of $1,000 because it’s in the process of making big moves that’ll almost certainly transform (and grow) the company. With a top line of $8.9 billion in 2022 — all of which was derived from its sales of drugs treating cystic fibrosis (CF), a rare hereditary pulmonary disease — Vertex is now diversifying its sources of revenue.
The most important reason for investors to buy shares soon is that in conjunction with CRISPR Therapeutics, its collaborator, the company is on the verge of commercializing a cell therapy called exa-cel for sickle cell disease (SCD) and beta thalassemia. Sometime in the first quarter, it’ll be finalizing its submission to regulators in the U.S. seeking approval for exa-cel, and it could have the medicine on the market by early next year. If Vertex succeeds, exa-cel will be a big boost to its revenue, and Wall Street analysts predict on average that the drugmaker’s total sales will be around $9.7 billion in 2023 and perhaps as much as $10.3 billion in 2024 as a result.
While it’s working on commercializing exa-cel, Vertex will also be continuing to get approval for expanded indications of its existing portfolio of medicines for CF, of which it has four. In other words, the business is going to continue to consolidate its iron grip on the market for CF therapies, generating more revenue, all while breaking out into fresh markets in the coming years. Because Vertex’s quarterly net income could grow by 289.5% to reach $818.9 million in the last five years alone based entirely on its CF medicines, there’s reason to believe that even a failure to enter new markets wouldn’t stop it from continuing to grow.
After all, even during Vertex’s yearslong diversification efforts, it hasn’t stopped working on its CF portfolio, nor is there any indication that it will. And for biopharma businesses whose growth ambitions depend on finding success with remarkably uncertain drug development, there’s nothing better than having safe sources of revenue in their back pocket.
2. Catalyst Pharmaceuticals
If you’d invested a grand into Catalyst Pharmaceuticals (CPRX -1.03%) roughly a year ago, you’d now be the proud owner of an investment worth around $1,950 — and it might rise even more over the next 12 months. The small biotech makes a medicine called Firdapse, which treats Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic syndrome (LEMS), a rare immune condition that’s thought to afflict 1 out of 100,000 people around the world. And sales of Firdapse are exploding; in 2023, the company expects it to bring in between $245 million and $255 million, easily topping 2022’s estimated total revenue of $214 million.
But Firdapse isn’t the only trick up Catalyst’s sleeve. The drugmaker just acquired another pharmaceutical asset called Fycompa, which treats epilepsy, in early 2023. And within the remainder of 2023, management is anticipating a whopping $130 million in sales of the drug, which should bring its annual total revenue up by as much as 80% when all’s said and done. That means Catalyst’s rapid growth is set to pick up the pace even more, even before the onboarding process of Fycompa’s business unit is completed in mid-2023. It also means that the company’s solid quarterly revenue growth of 96.4% in the last three years is about to look like a tortoise in comparison to this year, next year, and beyond.
But there is a risk of competitors developing a generic version of Firdapse sometime soon, and the company is in the process of figuring out if litigation is appropriate to block that possibility. Losing market share to a generic would be bad for investors, though it’s likely that litigation could defer the commercialization of a generic for a while. The issue is still quite up in the air.
On the brighter side, despite being profitable, Catalyst’s shares aren’t even valued too expensively, which is another big plus given its expected level of growth. While its trailing 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is 25, that isn’t too far above the biotechnology industry’s average of 22.7. So Catalyst’s valuation isn’t a major concern for shareholders even if the bear market continues, and that’s another point in favor of buying it.