There are some incredible deals in biotech right now. Three Fool.com contributors think Adaptimmune Therapeutics (ADAP 6.93%), G1 Therapeutics (GTHX 1.54%), and Axsome Therapeutics (AXSM 1.86%) are on the verge of a big move over the next couple of years.
A biotech ripe for a takeover
George Budwell (Adaptimmune Therapeutics): Clinical-stage biotech stocks have taken a beating in 2022. Investors have largely rotated out of this group of equities due to the unfavorable mix of rising interest rates, geopolitical turmoil, and of course, the constant risk of capital dilution. Developmental-stage biopharmas, after all, tend to rely heavily on stock sales to fund their operations. And with so many other headwinds at play right now, investors have seemingly decided that dilution simply isn't worth the hassle.
It isn't all doom and gloom for clinical-stage bios, however. This constant downward pressure on the group appears to be creating a buyer's market for larger biopharmas on the hunt for undervalued assets. As one example, French drugmaker Ipsen recently scooped up the struggling cancer specialist Epizyme for a paltry $247 million. Adaptimmune Therapeutics could be the next beaten-down cancer company to fetch a bid.
Adaptimmune is presently gearing up to file a regulatory application with the Food and Drug Administraton (FDA) for its first solid tumor cell therapy, afami-cel, later this year. The company has also reported positive clinical responses for seven solid tumor indications across its genetically engineered T-cell therapy pipeline. What's more, Adaptimmune's platform has enticed multiple pharma heavyweights to sign licensing and collaboration deals for a variety of high-value indications.
All that being said, Adaptimmune isn't exactly in a great position financially. While the company has said that its cash runway ought to last until 2024 and it does have a lucrative partnership in place with Roche, it could have a very tough time funding the launch of a novel cell therapy. Adaptimmune's best play, therefore, may be to consider selling itself. The good news is that Roche would probably jump at the chance to buy this cutting-edge platform outright.
Approved with a large and growing addressable market
Patrick Bafuma (G1 Therapeutics): I believe the market is massively discounting G1 Therapeutics. It already has an approved drug, Cosela, with excellent data that seemingly received a warm reception from the oncology community. Plus, this medication has multiple data readouts over the upcoming few years.
Cosela is given just before chemotherapy to help reduce the harmful effects of chemo. In fact, when given just before chemotherapy infusions, Cosela protects the bone marrow against the harmful effects of chemo. When the patient has fewer adverse events, this results in less costs to the healthcare system, fewer transfusions, and fewer hospitalizations.
Approved in February 2021, G1's lead product will continue to benefit from huge tailwinds. The initial addressable market -- extensive small cell lung cancer -- equates to about $700 million annually in the U.S. And with 80% of oncologists aware of Cosela, 85% of whom anticipate using this agent in the next two months, it seems like green pastures ahead for the company. While projected full-year 2022 revenue of just over $40 million in its first full year on the market may seem small, keep in mind the company is still in the early stages of growth.
Plus, there is potential to become a blockbuster if either of its upcoming phase 3 studies hit the mark. Those results, for colorectal cancer and triple-negative breast cancer, are due in 2023. Combined, these two indications would add up to more than $2 billion in additional addressable market. Put it all together, and G1 looks like it could easily be a multibagger from its current $210 million market cap, if not an acquisition target.
This small cap is on the verge of introducing a blockbuster drug
Taylor Carmichael (Axsome Therapeutics): Shares of Axsome recently skyrocketed when the FDA proposed a label for its prospective drug for major depressive disorder (MDD), AXS-05. The market -- rightly, in my view -- sees this as a signal that the drug will soon be approved and on the market.
MDD is a $4 billion market opportunity for Axsome. That's big news for the small cap, which has a valuation of $1.5 billion right now. The stock topped out at $109 a couple of years ago, so the stock would almost triple to recover its high.
That's not the only drug that will be making money for Axsome. The company recently acquired Sunosi from Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Sunosi is a drug for narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness), a $2 billion market opportunity.
And Axsome has another drug that will likely be approved next year. AXS-07, the company's migraine drug, hit a snag back in April as the FDA saw some deficiencies in the data for chemistry, manufacturing, and controls in Axsome's New Drug Application. So the biotech will have to resolve those issues before the drug will be approved.
While manufacturing issues are annoying, they are not nearly as serious as safety or efficacy issues. I believe it's highly likely that Axsome will have two drugs on the market this year, and its migraine drug will be approved in 2023. So investors buying now should see significant gains in the near future.