Better Biotech Buy: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated vs. BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.

Orphan drugs, treatments for rare and ultra-rare diseases that have traditionally lacked reliable medicines, have become big business in biotech and pharmaceuticals. Alexion Pharmaceuticals' Soliris might be the most well-known example of a single orphan drug transforming a company from developing firm to biotech powerhouse, as Soliris, a treatment for rare blood disorders, raked in more than $1.3 billion in revenue last year and is set for even greater sums in the future.

Other companies are hoping to harness the power of orphan drugs, and two biotech companies in the thick of the race are Vertex Pharmaceuticals  (NASDAQ: VRTX  ) and BioMarin (NASDAQ: BMRN  ) . Vertex has pushed forward behind Kalydeco, its up-and-coming treatment for cystic fibrosis-related mutations, while BioMarin's hoping to turn recent FDA and European approval for its Morquio-A syndrome therapy Vimizim into strong sales in the near future.

However, both of these stocks have slumped over the past year despite the two companies looking forward to what their orphan drugs can deliver. Will either of these stocks bounce back, and which one's the best to keep your eye on? Find out in the video below, as Motley Fool contributor Dan Carroll takes you through what's powering these two biotech stocks -- and whether either can turn things around for investors.

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  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 7:25 AM, deckdawg wrote:

    You failed to mention a potential blockbuster cancer drug that BioMarin currently has in Phase 3 clinical trials. This is a PARP inhibitor which (Initially) is targeted at cancers that result from BRCA gene issues. There are 5 different companies working on these, but independent researchers at the NIH believe BioMarin's will be, far and away, the best of the bunch.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 10:51 PM, ExpandingCosmos wrote:

    It would be an act of kindness if Fool contributors like yourself would publish, somewhere under the video window, a transcript of your video.

    Some Fool subscribers, like myself, don't have time to sit through a video but would like to know what you have to say. People should be able to choose what medium works best for them. (Some people would call that "user friendly".)

    FYI, I got pissed and stopped the video after approx. 1 minute, so I have no idea what your conclusion is. Instead, I'm spending the time to write this comment as an investment in improving the MF Website.

    I am now off to READ some other articles about VRTX. "Small Pharma Analyst" has an interesting-looking article on the 5/21 article on the Seeking Alpha website, and Suresh Gupta has a thoughtful 6/2 article on

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Dan Carroll

Dan began writing for the Motley Fool in 2012. He is a health care specialist who also follows the defense industry along with tracking the broader U.S. and international markets.

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