While the S&P 500 is up about 11.5 percent for the year, navigating through the choppy waters of both U.S. and global economic challenges have not been for investors with weak stomachs. The 10-percent fall from this year’s April high to June low can, and then subsequent gradual march back up during the summer months can attest to that. Yet surprisingly, one industry group known for its volatility has managed to both ignore the bumps in the road and outperform the broader market at the same time. Biotech stocks, as tracked through the SPDR S&P Biotech (XBI), are up about 35 percent year-to-date.
Here are some of the best performing names in the group.
Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc. (THLD)
Most of its run-up occurred during the first half of this year when the company reported positive results from its phase 2b trial of TH-302 in Pancreatic Cancer, but shares have gained over 620 percent year-to-date and are currently trading around $8.75. Threshold Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $480 million.
Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARNA)
Arena hit its 52-week high on June 27 after the company and Eisai Inc. announced that its BELVIQ weight management drug received FDA approval. Shares are up over 380 percent year-to-date after sagging off its high of $13.50 to hover around $9. The company has a market cap of about $2 billion.
Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc. (SRPT)
After completing a 1:6 reverse stock split in July, shares of Sarepta have been on a tear, soaring from $4 to as high as $16.40. The move higher has been fueled by positive reports of the company’s eteplirsen drug for muscular dystrophy produced significant clinical benefit in a phase IIb study. Sarepta has a market cap of $340 million, and its stock price has increased over 250 percent year-to-date.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN)
While many biotech stocks have been enjoying a strong year thus far, no large cap has been close to Regeneron’s 167 percent year-to-date gain. The company’s vision drug EYLEA, which treats wet age related macular degeneration, hit the market earlier this year and has been going gangbusters. The company has revised higher its full-year revenue forecast for the drug, now expecting to sales to reach $700 million to $750 million. It is also gaining market share from competitors like Roche’s Lucentis and Avastin. However, Roche will also be collecting royalties on Elyea sales through its U.S. subsidiary Genentech after reaching a patent settlement in January. Shares of Regeneron are currently trading around $150, and the company has a market cap of around $14 billion.