Though coronavirus-related stocks have been climbing, the path hasn't been smooth for all healthcare companies this year. Many crashed along with the broader market in March, even if their revenue prospects were bright -- and depressed prices mean buying opportunities for the long-term investor. Of course, the coronavirus health crisis isn't over and may continue to weigh on companies. But now is the time to pick up stocks of healthcare companies that have shown signs of rebounding and have revenue-generating products and strong pipelines.
Here, I've chosen three stocks that are demonstrating all of that -- and they each trade for about 20 times earnings or less, when the industry average is 46.
AbbVie (ABBV -0.76%) completed its acquisition of Allergan this spring. Prior to the purchase, AbbVie relied heavily on revenue from one drug, Humira, a blockbuster approved for several indications including rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. The drug generated 57% of the company's revenue last year. With biosimilar competition gaining ground outside the U.S., Humira's international sales have been declining. And the entrance of biosimilars in the U.S. in 2023 will further weigh on revenue.
The Allergan deal broadens AbbVie's revenue prospects by adding growing neuroscience drugs, such as Vraylar, to its portfolio, as well as a strong aesthetics lineup including Botox and Juvederm. In the second quarter, sales of Vraylar surged 70%. AbbVie is also studying Vraylar, now approved for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, for major depressive disorder in two phase 3 trials. The company said Vraylar is on track to bring in more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
That said, AbbVie's quarterly report wasn't all positive. The aesthetics business hasn't been too pretty in recent weeks -- most likely because patients and doctors have been postponing nonessential procedures. Net revenue from aesthetics slid 47.9% from the previous quarter. Once the current health crisis abates, though, I'm optimistic this portfolio will become a solid asset in the long term.
AbbVie shares are up 8.4% for the year after rebounding from March lows. The shares are reasonably priced at 21 times trailing 12-month earnings -- especially considering the growth potential ahead.
Amgen (AMGN -0.48%) has struggled with sales declines in older products amid biosimilar and generic competition. But good news is here now, with more on the horizon. Newer products are picking up the slack, to the tune of a 6% increase in total revenue in the second quarter.
Sales of psoriasis drug Otezla last year, which Amgen acquired last year, climbed 14% in the quarter to $561 million. Cholesterol drug Repatha also contributed to gains, with a 32% increase in sales to $200 million. Amgen still faces declining sales for its older -- and biggest -- drugs. For instance, sales of blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel fell 9% in the quarter. But the company has more than 20 products in phase 3 studies, which is a positive sign as we look ahead. One example is omecamtiv mecarbil, a drug candidate that's recently been given fast-track status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for some cases of chronic heart failure. Amgen expects to report results from a phase 3 study in the fourth quarter.
Amgen shares have rebounded from March lows and are little changed this year so far. The stock traded as low as about 15 times trailing 12-month earnings when the market crashed. But at 20 times earnings today, the price is still right for the long-term investor.
3. Boston Scientific
The coronavirus outbreak has been particularly difficult for Boston Scientific (BSX -0.95%). As procedures using its medical devices were postponed, the company posted sales declines across every product segment and region. You might think that doesn't stir up much inspiration to buy the shares.
But here's what makes me optimistic about Boston Scientific as a long-term holding to buy right now: Regulators have granted the company 23 product approvals so far this year. And the company expects seven more approvals in the near term. That should offer Boston Scientific even more fuel for growth once regular procedures are back on the agenda in hospitals and clinics.
In light of the pandemic's impact on procedures, it's useful to look at Boston Scientific's earnings and revenue prior to the outbreak. For the 2019 full year, Boston Scientific posted a 9.3% increase in sales to more than $10 billion. The company also reported growth in sales across all business segments and regions for the year. And annual revenue has been climbing since 2015.
Boston Scientific shares have rebounded 47% since their March low but still are down 16% for the year. The shares are trading at 13 times trailing 12-month earnings. I don't expect the company to recover quickly. But considering revenue potential and the current price, now is a good time for the long-term investor to add Boston Scientific to their healthcare holdings.