Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB), Celgene Corporation (CELG), Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD): 3 of Biotech’s Best

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It’s been a healthy year-to-date for the biotech sector, with the space logging huge gains above and beyond those of the broad based market. Industry companies have thrived thanks to technological advances that facilitated new discoveries and stoked greater demand for life-enhancing and lifesaving products.

Industry research firm IBIS World estimates global biotechnology industry revenue will jump 12.7% in 2013, reaching $262 billion. That follows an average annual growth rate of 11% over the last five years.

Moreover, the industry is still in the growth stage of its life cycle. Constant technological findings, an insatiable appetite for new and better drugs, and the explosive growth of emerging markets will influence and fuel the industry. Let’s take a closer look at three of biotech’s best.

One of the biggest

Biogen Idec Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB)

Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB), one of the biggest and best-known names in the biotech sector, is up some 40% since the start of 2013, and a whopping 120% over the past two years.

Driving the Massachusetts based company is a solid pipeline of drugs to treat multiple sclerosis. The firm also has a number of other therapies to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lymphomas, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis.

Tecfidera is Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB)’s new oral therapy recently approved in the U.S. for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS. The drug has been proven to significantly reduce important measures of the disease, including relapses and the development of brain lesions.

In addition, it is shown to slow disability progression over time.  Only on the market for a few months, Tecfidera sales have already surpassed even the loftiest expectations and are on pace to reach $800 million this year.

Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB)’s 2013 full year earnings are expected to grow 21.4%, with several analysts becoming more upbeat over the last few weeks. Consensus for this year’s cumulative earnings have risen to $7.66. Meanwhile, full 2014 consensus numbers have surged from $8.77 to $10.17.  Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) is the world’s oldest independent biotechnology company and boasts more than $5 billion in annual revenue

The innovator

Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG), a global biopharmaceutical company with a market cap of $51 billion, is on a mission to deliver truly innovative and life changing drugs. There are more than 300 clinical trials at major medical centers using compounds from Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) for the treatment of myriad cancers and rare blood diseases.

Shares have been on a tear, doubling over the last 12 months. Yet that hasn’t stopped a handful of analysts from further upgrading shares even at today’s levels.

Recently, Jefferies Group reaffirmed its “buy” rating and has a $152 price target. Cantor Fitzgerald and Guggenheim both reiterated “buy” ratings and $142 price targets. And, Argus raised its guidance from  to “buy” from “hold” and have a $140 price target on the stock.

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