Who are the biggest names in biotech? The following five. These companies have market capitalizations worth billions of dollars and operate in countries all around the globe. Plus, they have pipelines stuffed with potentially disruptive products—and enough revenue to recover should some of those products fail.
In a time when many investors are leery of the biotech sector, these large cap stocks can seem like the safer bet, a way to experience the excitement of biotech investing while minimizing risk. Because although returns are never guaranteed, company size can and does insulate investors from volatility.
So if you’re feeling skittish, take heart: you’re not without options. Consider these top biotech stocks. They’re big, certainly—but will they be bullish?
1. AbbVie (NASDAQ:ABBV)
Market cap: $178.89 billion; current share price: $112.65
This biopharmaceutical company is spread throughout 75 countries in four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience.
In March 2018, AbbVie released positive top line results from the Phase 3 Elaris UF-II study, where the drug candidate elagolix showed a 76.2 percent reduction bleeding from women with uterine fibroids, compared with a 10.1 percent reduction with the placebo.
Over 2017 the company’s best selling products were Humira, and Imbruvica which amount to $18.42 billion and $2.57 billion, respectively.
2. Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN)
Market cap: $131.16 billion; current share price: $182.03
Amgen—which stands for Applied Molecular Genetics—was established in 1980. Since then, the company has made a name for itself tackling orphan diseases, or disorders with few existing treatment options.
Early 2018, the company received it’s first US Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) approval for the year to expand the already approved indication to include patients with multiple myeloma.
Amgen’s products with the highest revenue in 2017 include Enbrel and Neulasta, which jointly raised the company $2.537 billion through worldwide sales.
Amgen’s product candidates range from therapies for myeloma and and small-cell lung cancer to kidney disease and heart failure.
3. Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY)
Market cap: $108.45 billion; current share price: $66.43
This global biopharmaceutical company was founded in 1858 and develops therapies for serious diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and psychiatric disorders.
In 2017, the company’s top grossing products include Opdivo and Eliquis which helped—with jointly raising the company $9.820 billion in worldwide revenue—push the company’s sales seven percent for the total year.
BMS also received an additional FDA-approval to update Opdivo dosing schedule for a majority of approved indications in March 2018, which should further increase sales on the drug.
4. Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD)
Market cap: $100.76 billion; current share price: $76.92
With a mission to advance patient care with life-threatening diseases, Gilead is pushing towards the goal with seven clinical trials in Phase 3 in it’s pipeline. Some of the indications Gilead is currently developing treatments for is HIV/AIDS, liver diseases, inflammation/respiratory and more.
The company released Phase 3 study evaluating patients who switched to the company’s already FDA-approved Biktarvy, had better results than it’s competitor in the 48-week study—further proving the positive implications of the product.
Gilead’s more established antiviral drugs are still pushing the company’s sales including Genvoya, Truvada, and Harvoni which amounted to $11.178 billion in 2017. Total sales for the company were $25.7 billion, also for the same year.
5. AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN)
Market cap: $86 billion; current share price: $34.77
AstraZeneca focuses on treating disease in three main areas, oncology, respiratory and CVMD—an intersection between cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases.
The CVMD sector was where the company made the biggest revenue increase in 2017, with an overall $1.939 billion in sales. The top contributing therapies in this sector were Crestor, and Brilinta which contributed $594 million and $299 million in worldwide sales.
In February 2018, the company announced the FDA approved Imfinzi to treat patients with unresectable Stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer, which demonstrated a 48 percent reduction in relative risk of progression or death in the Phase 3 trial of the drug.
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This is an update to an article originally published in 2016.
Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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