What happened

Shares of NovoCure (NASDAQ:NVCR), a medical device company focused on cancer, rose 157% in 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Investors can attribute the huge jump to a series of positive clinical, reimbursement, and financial updates.

So what

Here's a quick overview of the key events that caused the stock to spike during the year:

  • The biggest news release of the year came in April, when the company announced data from four different clinical trials that were studying NovoCure's product Optune as a hopeful treatment for several different types of cancer. While all of the data looked promising, the readout from the company's EF-14 really got Wall Street excited. The data from this five-year trial showed that using Optune in combination with chemotherapy led to significant increases in the overall survival rates of patients with a deadly form of brain cancer called glioblastoma.
  • In August, the company announced that it had received national reimbursement for Optune in Austria. This marked its first national coverage policy.
  • In December, Optune received reimbursement approval in Japan. 

Beyond these clinical and reimbursement updates, NovoCure also reported triple-digit revenue growth in all four of its earnings reports that were released during the year.

Given these great clinical and financial updates, it isn't hard to figure out why shareholders had such a profitable year.

Money rains down on a businessman from the sky

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

While NovoCure's growth has been impressive thus far, there are still ample reasons to believe that the opportunity ahead remains significant. We recently learned that NovoCure ended 2017 with only about 1,834 active patients in the U.S., Germany, and Japan. That's still tiny when compared to the roughly 12,500 patients who are diagnosed with glioblastoma each year in the U.S. alone. What's more, the company continues to push forward with its pipeline that is studying Optune as a potential treatment for lung, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer. Success in any one of those indications would only expand its market opportunity further. 

In total, NovoCure looks primed to continue producing eye-popping growth numbers in 2018 and beyond. While this company remains a high-risk stock, I plan to continue to be a happy shareholder for years to come.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.