For investors who want the stability and reliable growth of an established business, Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) are trusty quick picks. Both are quite profitable, cash-rich, and have a history of delivering value to shareholders in the form of dividends or stock buybacks. Importantly, each has a diverse drug development pipeline that's chock-full of late-stage programs approaching completion and potential regulatory approval for sale in the next few years. That's a lot of near-term catalysts that could reward shareholders.
What's more, Amgen and Biogen will report their third-quarter earnings and updates from several key clinical trials next month, so now might be a good time to buy. For the pair, this means that year-over-year quarterly sales revenues may soon start to rise from their single-digit levels, driving growth in the process. Let's investigate why these two companies deserve a spot in your portfolio.
Amgen aims to capitalize on Otezla through 2021
After joining the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the end of August, Amgen is preparing to advance a handful of its pipeline projects into their final stages. In particular, the company will soon report much-awaited phase 3 clinical trial data from its drug candidate for heart failure, omecamtiv mecarbil. Given that cardiovascular disease and heart failure specifically is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, success with omecamtiv mecarbil would mean that the company could enter a massive market with the potential to drive long-term growth.
Amgen's other program to watch is its Otezla, an oral non-biologic treatment that it purchased from Celgene for $13.4 billion in cash as part of the latter's 2019 merger with Bristol Meyers Squibb (NYSE:BMY). Though the drug is already approved for indications including adult psoriasis and arthritis, Amgen is developing it further, with ongoing phase 3 clinical trials investigating its efficacy for pediatric Behcet's disease, pediatric psoriasis, and pediatric arthritis. If these trials conclude successfully, Amgen will make up the cost of the purchase more rapidly while adding to its already-formidable library of inflammation therapies. By the end of next year, the company's revenues may be considerably larger as a result.
If its exciting pipeline output weren't enough, Amgen has also continued to increase its dividend each year since 2011. Though the 2.48% trailing annual dividend yield is merely average, it's important to remember that the company also engages in opportunistic share buybacks, so shareholders are rewarded in more than one way.
Biogen's Alzheimer's therapies will help it corner the market
Biogen's pipeline is packed with programs targeting Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurodegenerative diseases. The company recently filed for regulatory approval of its Alzehimer's biologic, aducanumab, meaning that it could be on the market as soon as next year. If aducanumab doesn't work out, Biogen also has BAN2401, another antibody-based therapy for Alzehimer's in phase 3 of its clinical trials. If both of these drugs are approved, it would open the door for Biogen to create combination therapies that incorporate multiple different products to hopefully achieve superior therapeutic effect -- and generating more revenue in the process.
Next year will be exciting for Biogen regardless of its work on aducanumab. The company's projects for ALS and choroideremia (a genetic disease that can result in blindness) both report their phase 3 results in 2021, as do additional therapies for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and multiple sclerosis that are reaching the end of their phase 2 trials. With these programs, Biogen is angling to cement its status as a leader in neurodegenerative disease to become the dominant player over the next decade.
Unlike Amgen, Biogen has no dividend, but it does have another attribute that sweetens the pot for investors. Simply put, Biogen is a bargain at the moment. With a trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 7.96 compared to the biotech industry's average of 77.56, Biogen's stock is likely undervalued, but it won't stay that way forever.