In the world of biotech investing, there are many companies to choose from. When the market is on a riding stride, investment in more speculative stocks that have inflated valuations can get tough. There still may be potential for several biotech stocks that are immune to downturn or sidewise movements in the market. Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE), BIOLASE Inc (NASDAQ:BIOL), and Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACHN) are the three stocks that have carved a niche for themselves.
About the trio
Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE), the Oregon based company is the least expensive but is certainly high in potential. The market for breast cancer is enormous, and Galena has tons of potential in NeuVax for preventing the recurrence of breast cancer. The company has plenty of cash in hand and the quarterly burn rate was brought down to just under $4 million last quarter, and with NeuVax in phase III trials there is money to get through the FDA approval process. Also, Galena just bought the rights to sell Abstral Sublingual tablets in the US for an upfront fee of $10 million with another $5 million due after the first 12 months.
In 2012, the European market for Abstral, a fentanyl product for cancer pain, produced sales of $54 million, leading all European competitors. This will give Galena revenue and more stability along with recent coverage initiated from Needham & Company with a buy and $3.50 a share price target.
Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ:GALE) has a phase III trial with NeuVax, which is based on the E75 peptide for the treatment of preventing the recurrence of breast cancer. For preventing the recurrence of gynecological cancers like ovarian and endometrial adenocarcinomas, the company is also developing Folate Binding Protein-E39. This protein is currently in phase 1/2 clinical trials. The purchase of Abstral from Orexo AB (Sweden) gives Galena a drug for fast and effective cancer pain treatment that has already been approved by the FDA for use in the US (2011).
BIOLASE Inc (NASDAQ:BIOL), the manufacturer of lasers for medical use is a perfect candidate for investors, looking to catch a rising star sooner than later. The company markets its product and dental applications in the U.S., and other international markets. From teeth whitening to complex surgical applications, dental laser systems hold a good use. BIOLASE Inc (NASDAQ:BIOL) is also engaged in the marketing and distribution of extra-oral and intra-oral imaging devices for use in the dental industry. Further, it offers medical systems comprising Diode Laser for therapeutic applications. Biolase sells its products through direct sales personnel, and a network of independent distributors.
Biolase has a market cap just over $120 million, and yet revenue came in around $60 million and even close to $20 million last quarter alone. This quarterly revenue figure represents growth of over 56% for the last three quarters, and a similar trend is evident with Biolase profits. Three quarters ago, Biolase had a loss of almost $2 million, and this last quarter (ending December 2012); a small profit of over $1 million was realized.
Further, this leading company in the global dental industry has virtually no debt, and in two years turned negative stockholder equity of just over $3 million into what is now almost $12 million in positive equity. If Biolase can keep growth going, the current share price will be extremely undervalued. Recently, the company received an upgrade by Northland Capital to outperform with a price target of $7 a share.