With the market experiencing huge losses this week, you might think that it could be difficult to find health-care stocks to include in a list of humongous performers. It's true that there were many biotech stocks dropping by double-digit percentages. However, the week also brought forth several big gainers. Let's take a look at our humongous health-care stocks of the week.
A rare winner
How does a 28% jump in one week sound? BioMarin Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: BMRN ) even did slightly better than that this week. The company reported phase 3 results for GALNS, its drug for treating Morquio A syndrome. As you might suspect, those results were very good.
Morquio A is very rare, affecting 1,000 to 1,500 patients in the U.S. and no more than 3,000 patients worldwide. Patients with Morquio A syndrome have skeletal dysplasia and joint abnormalities that make walking quite difficult. The late-stage study found that patients who took a weekly regimen of GALNS significantly improved how far they could walk over a six-minute period.
BioMarin plans to file for regulatory approval to market the drug in the first quarter of 2013. The company's chances for gaining approval look good in light of the phase 3 results.
Less bad is good
Intermune (Nasdaq: ITMN ) jumped 19% for the week. The big gains followed the company's third-quarter results announcement.
It's fair to say that expectations have been quite low lately for Intermune. Analysts expected the company to lose $0.84 per share in the quarter. However, Intermune surprised everyone with a loss of only $0.70 per share. The company also reported revenue of $7.5 million, beating analyst estimates of $6.2 million.
Shareholders hope the improved results mean that Intermune will ultimately be successful with Esbriet, a drug used in the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Intermune launches Esbriet in Europe and Canada soon, but still has a late-stage study in progress to gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the U.S.
Hep, hep... hooray?
Rounding out our list this week is Idenix Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: IDIX ) . Shares for the hepatitis drug maker rose nearly 14% for the week.
Idenix reported its third-quarter results last week. The positive momentum for its stock appears to have kicked into gear following the company's conference call discussion, which focused primarily on its drug pipeline. Idenix has a hepatitis B drug marketed under the names Tyzeka and Sebivo, but Novartis (NYSE: NVS ) owns all commercialization rights. The company's focus for now is on the hepatitis C drugs in its pipeline.
The stock got clobbered in August when the FDA put a clinical hold on IDX19368 and a partial clinical hold on IDX184. These holds came after a patient died of heart failure in a Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY ) clinical study that used a similar compound. Idenix shares fell over 50% over the next few months before starting to rebound somewhat last week.
Of the three humongous performers of the week, BioMarin looks to be the best pick. Intermune and Idenix are really just bouncing off lows at this point. BioMarin, though, shows great potential to keep positive momentum going.
While you can certainly make huge gains in biotech and pharmaceuticals, the best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. In our free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," we name stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.