3 Humongous Health-Care Stocks This Week

Up, up, and away. That's the motto for the market as a whole so far this year, but it's also especially applicable for a select group of stocks. Here are three humongous health-care stocks for the past week.

$1 billion has a nice ring to it
When Aegerion (NASDAQ: AEGR  ) speaks, people listen -- and buy the company's stock. Shares jumped nearly 34% this week, largely on a presentation made by Aegerion at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch health-care conference.

The biotech told analysts that it foresees a $1 billion market for Juxtapid. The drug, which treats a rare disease called homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in December.

Analysts liked what they heard. The conference host raised its price target for Aegerion from $50 per share to $58. Deutsche Bank was even more enthusiastic, boosting its target from $52 to $85.

Skipping merrily along
Tesaro
(NASDAQ: TSRO  ) shareholders had good reason to be merry this week. Shares soared by 26% after the company gave a small sneak peek at its impending presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, or ASCO, annual meeting.

The company plans to present data final results from a phase 1 trial of niraparib. While no details were given, Tesaro now plans to skip to phase 3 trials for the drug for ovarian and breast cancer.

Tesaro President Dr. Mary Lynne Hedley said enrollment for a trial focusing on ovarian cancer will begin in midyear. Enrollment for the breast cancer study should begin later in 2013.

Pancreatic attack
Like Tesaro, Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HALO  ) benefited from an announcement about its upcoming ASCO presentation. Shares rose nearly 24% after the company provided preliminary information about what will be covered in that presentation.

The buzz centers on Halozyme's experimental pancreatic cancer drug PEGPH20. A phase 1 study of the biologic in combination with gemcitabine showed an overall response rate of 42%. The company also said the treatment was generally well tolerated.

It's still too early in the development cycle to predict how effective PEGPH20 will ultimately prove to be. Pancreatic cancer has presented a tough challenge for other drugs. The disease has a five-year survival rate below 6%.

Best of the best
Aegerion stands out as the best pick of the three humongous stocks this week. The company should see solid sales of Juxtapid in the coming months. I'll certainly root for the success of Tesaro and Halozyme also. Any improvements in treating cancer will help patients. That would make the most humongous news of all.

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. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names 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.


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