It's incredibly hard to guess when shares in any company may rise or fall, but long-haul investors who are willing to take on risk in their portfolio may benefit from owning these three companies, each of which has catalysts that could result in big returns in the future. Read on to learn why I think these companies could double.

Image source: Exact Sciences.

A simpler and cheaper way

Colon cancer is far easier to treat when its caught early, yet the majority of colon cancer cases are diagnosed when the cancer has reached stage 3 or stage 4, when it's far tougher to tackle.

A big reason why so many cases get diagnosed later is that patients often fail to follow through with recommended guidelines to get screened regularly when they're between age 50 and 75.

Exact Sciences (EXAS -1.31%) hopes it's Cologuard screening kit can change that. Cologuard test blood and DNA in stool samples prepared at home and mailed ot Exact Sciences labs for markers of colon cancer and in trials, it's been shown to be more accurate than previously existing stool tests.

Because Cologuard is more convenient and far less invasive (and cheaper) than colonoscopy, the gold-standard in screening, Exact Sciences believes its addressable market is worth $4 billion. Last quarter, the company completed just 54,000 screenings, generating $21.2 million in sales, so there's plenty of running room. Management expects to complete 240,000 screenings this year, up from 104,000 in 2015. If it hits that target (and I think it will), then sales will reach $90 million this year, up from $39.4 million in 2015.

Admittedly, Exact Sciences is far from risk free. The company's losing money by the truckload and there's no telling when it will go into the black. However, with a massive market opportunity and tailwinds from Cologuard's recent inclusion in industry screening guidelines, it could be worth taking on the risk.

Image source: Freeport-McMoRan, Inc.

Mining for bargains

There's no guarantee that prices for metals like copper and gold will climb back to their previous highs, but an argument can be made that the massive sell-off in mining stocks has created bargains that are ripe for the picking in the industry.

One mining company that I think is particularly intriguing for a doubling is Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX -1.77%).

Freeport-McMoran recently reported arguably horrendous second quarter results that include a 15% year-over-year drop in revenue to $3.33 billion and a 20% drop in realized copper prices. it also cut its full year operating cash flow guidance.

However, shares rallied on the report on optimism that a restructuring that includes $4 billion in asset sales and a $1.5 billion equity offering will put it on firmer financial ground. If the company can execute on its restructuring, then it could end up being much more profitable when commodity prices regain some of their lost luster.

Industry watchers seem to agree. Over the past 90 days, the average consensus estimate for EPS this year has increased from $0.29 to $0.55 and the consensus EPS estimate for next year has increased from $0.95 to $1.11. Obviously, no one knows whether the company will hit those forecasts, but it certainly suggests that industry watchers are getting increasingly less pessimistic about the company's prospects and that could mean that they're more likely to be buyers than sellers from here. If I'm right and I get a bit of help from the commodity market, then Freeport-McMoRan could end up generating a big return for investors over the coming years.

Source: Celgene Corp

Expanding its reach

Celgene Corp (CELG) is already the market share leading maker of drugs used to treat multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer, but its recent launch of Otezla for psoriasis and a rich pipeline of new therapies suggests the company is on track to become a much more diversified biopharma kingpin.

The company issued an outlook for 2020 that includes sales of at least $21 billion and earnings per share of $13 and with shares trading at around $110 right now, a multiple of 16 on that forecast would translate into a doubling in the company's stock price.

Admittedly, hitting its lofty target won't be easy. This year, the company's guiding for sales of just $10.5 billion and EPS of only $5.60. Celgene will need some things to go it's way in the coming years, but I think the odds are in its favor.

The company's Revlimid is already a top seller with $6.7 billion in anticipated sales this year, but Otezla may be only scratching the surface. Last quarter, Otezla sales were $195.6 million and although that represents a 224% increase from a year ago, the company thinks it could eventually produce sales of up to $2 billion per year.

Additionally, Celgene's got irons in the fire with blockbuster potential, including ozanimod, a therapy for MS and ulcerative colitis, and GED-0301, a crohn's disease treatment that's in final phase 3 studies.

Celgene's also got the benefit of deep pockets in its favor. The company's kicking off plenty of cash that's allowing it to license promising therapies in development at other companies and it recently approved a $3 billion share buyback program that should help boost EPS too.

Overall, while there's no guarantee that Celgene can deliver on its forecast for sales, there's enough catalysts ahead for this company for me to think it has a very good shot at it.