If you want to be able to retire comfortably, investing can be a way to help you accomplish that goal. Buying and holding quality growth stocks can set you up for some strong returns over the years. For instance, earning a 10% annual return over 25 years would be enough to turn a $100,000 investment into more than $1 million.

Three healthcare stocks that can help you build a strong, growth-oriented portfolio are Eli Lilly (LLY 3.77%), Globus Medical (GMED 0.85%), and Seagen (SGEN).

A family meeting with an advisor.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Eli Lilly

Drugmaker Eli Lilly has a little bit of everything for investors. It pays a dividend that yields 1.3%, which is in line with the S&P 500 average. It has stable operations today, and it has a significant pipeline that can lead to more growth opportunities down the road. In each of the past four years, the company has reported an operating profit that was at least 25% of revenue. That, coupled with consistent top-line growth, can ensure that the company's bottom line gets bigger over time, which makes the stock a better buy and leads to better returns for investors.

Currently, the company has 20 phase three trials ongoing that cover multiple therapeutic areas, including immunology, diabetes, and cancer. One of its most promising is Alzheimer's treatment donanemab which, if approved by the Food and Drug Administration, could give patients an alternative to Biogen's Aduhelm. Eli Lilly's focus is always on growth, and the company says it is on track to hit its target of launching 20 new medicines during a 10-year period covering 2014 to 2023. As of December, its tally was at 16 new medicines.

With solid financials and a diverse pipeline, Eli Lilly is one of the safer healthcare stocks you can buy and hold for decades.

2. Globus Medical

Globus Medical is another example of a company with a strong core that's also focused on the future. It makes implantable devices and surgical instruments that drive its musculoskeletal business. However, it also makes ExcelsiusGPS, a navigational platform that is used in robotic-assisted surgery. That is in the company's enabling technologies segment. In 2021, that segment accounted for just 8.5% of revenue despite doubling to $81.3 million. Its musculoskeletal business, meanwhile, grew by 17% to $876.8 million. Although that's a slower rate, it's solid nonetheless.

Not only is Globus' top line growing, but the rest of its financials also look strong. Its net income totaled $149.2 million last year and represented 16% of revenue. Its operating cash flow was also positive at $276.3 million.

Globus is an impressive growth stock, and the only reason I could see why investors might be cautious about it is that it trades at 36 times its future profits (Eli Lilly is slightly lower at 34). That's a steep multiple when you consider that the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund averages a multiple of just 16. However, for growth stocks like Globus and Eli Lilly, it's not uncommon to pay a premium for the potential that they possess in the long run.

3. Seagen

Cancer company Seagen is the only company on this list that doesn't post a profit right now. However, the business shows promise because the main reason it's in the red is that it's investing heavily into itself. Last year, it spent $1.2 billion on research and development, which is 78% of the $1.6 billion it reported in revenue over that stretch. As the business grows, that percentage could become more manageable. It helps that Seagen generates gross margins of around 80%, so as its top line expands, there will be enough to cover overhead and operating expenses. 

This year, the company expects its product revenue to total between $1.48 billion and $1.55 billion, representing a year-over-year growth rate of approximately 9% at the midpoint. That's not a huge uptick in sales, but one of its newest drugs, Tivdak, was only recently approved. The FDA granted the cervical cancer drug accelerated approval in September 2021, and analysts believe it has the potential to be a blockbuster, with annual revenue topping more than $1 billion at its peak.

Seagen's future looks bright, and a lack of profitability shouldn't discourage investors from what looks to be another solid growth stock to hold.