In today's bearish market, consistent growth is hard to come by, but it still exists. Even with inflation and threats of recession, a few companies have so many positive milestones coming up that their share prices keep rising even as the market falls or moves sideways.
For investors looking to put $1,500 to work somewhere that it could grow over the next few years, two biotechs look particularly appealing. Their shares are likely to keep outperforming the market in the near-term, and their acumen with drug development might make them ripe for a long-term hold too.
With its shares up over 142% so far this year, it's a safe bet to call Veru (VERU -5.19%) a growth stock that's on a tear. Given that its quarterly revenue has only grown by 10% in the last three years, however, it's reasonable for investors to wonder what's so great about this biotech.
The answer is that Veru is developing a treatment for severe COVID-19 called sabizabulin, and it's currently waiting on the final stamp of approval from regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sabizabulin is also being investigated for its utility in treating certain types of breast and prostate cancer.
An approval for COVID treatment could help the company's investment in the drug pay off handily. If it gets the go-ahead, sabizabulin could treat as many as 48,000 or so patients per month in the U.S, which would almost certainly translate to massive revenue growth on top of the $52.4 million the company made over the last 12 months.
Management also expects that its recently commercialized medicine Entadfi, for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), will see its sales start to pick up in Q3 thanks to new sales partnerships with telemedicine companies and consumer health businesses like GoodRx Holdings. At its peak, that drug could yield as much as $200 million per year in global revenue.
The appeal of buying shares of Veru today is that investors will get potential upside exposure to better-than-expected sales of sabizabulin and Entadfi. Furthermore, if the twin drug launches bring in enough money to make the business profitable, that could help the share price.
Of course, a regulatory rejection or serious hiccup with sabizabulin would deliver the stock a sharp sting, though the company would still have the chance to salvage its filing by conducting more studies. Likewise, lower-than-anticipated uptake of the drug would lead to less growth, so advances in vaccine technology or other therapies could also pose a risk.
Overall, with so much on the horizon, the stock looks poised to do well, though a jump as large as the one so far in 2022 is unlikely to happen again soon.
2. Catalyst Pharmaceuticals
In biology, catalysts increase the pace of chemical reactions, and with Catalyst Pharmaceuticals (CPRX 0.04%), its shares have likely been increasing the pace of investors' returns; the stock is up 145% in the last year. What's catalyzing the investor enthusiasm?
The company has a lone drug on the market: Firdapse, which is intended to treat Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS), a rare autoimmune condition that causes muscle weakness and is frequently associated with later developing small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Sales of Firdapse are skyrocketing since its launch in 2019, bringing in $53 million in Q2, a year-over-year gain of 58%.
Firdapse is the only medicine for LEMS in the U.S., so Catalyst has the market to itself. But with only 3,000 patients in the country diagnosed with the disease, the main challenge now is to penetrate that market. To address that issue, Catalyst is educating healthcare providers everywhere on what to look for to diagnose LEMS, and then how to assess whether a patient might benefit from Firdapse.
It's also aiming to commercialize the drug in Japan and Canada next, which will doubtlessly help to ramp up the growth machine. At the same time, it's performing clinical trials and seeking expanded indications for Firdapse so that it can market the drug to pediatric patients.
If everything goes according to plan, Catalyst will make between $100 million and $105 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in 2022, a far cry from its grand total of $0 in 2021. That would mesh with management's goal to grow the company by acquiring new pipeline programs for rare-disease treatments.
Buying the stock today includes the risk that the new acquisitions aren't as stunning as the market expects, not to mention the risk of underperforming earnings estimates -- but it also offers the upside of stronger-than-anticipated commercial execution. In sum, there's not much in this company's way at the moment, and the future seems bright.