What's better than a growth stock that's performed well in the past? The answer is easy: A growth stock that should perform well in the future.

We asked three Motley Fool contributors to identify growth stocks that are poised to skyrocket. Here's why they chose Eli Lilly (LLY -0.24%), Pfizer (PFE), and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX -0.57%).

A top line ready to take off

David Jagielski (Eli Lilly): If you're looking for an established growth stock that has the potential to rise higher in value, Eli Lilly should be near the top of your list. The drugmaker has some exciting drugs in its pipeline that could be game changers for its business, driving more revenue growth for years to come.

Even though the stock has done well over the past year and handily beaten the S&P 500, there's still plenty of room for shares of Eli Lilly to go even higher. Its Alzheimer's disease drug, donanemab, could bring in up to $6 billion in annual revenue by 2026. Last year, the company had just one drug that reached that level of sales -- Trulicity at $6.5 billion. Donanemab isn't approved just yet but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expects to make a decision by early January.

Another catalyst for the company is tirzepatide. Analysts are even more bullish on this drug, believing it could hit a whopping $25 billion in sales at its peak. Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) is already approved for treating diabetes, but another indication, obesity (currently in phase 3 trials), could open the floodgates for even more revenue for what is shaping up to be Eli Lilly's most prized product.

That's a ton of revenue that could be on the way for Lilly. The drugmaker is already highly profitable, reporting net income of $5.7 billion on sales of $29.1 billion in the trailing 12 months, for an impressive profit margin of 20%.

Eli Lilly is a safe stock with mammoth potential to get bigger. Some investors could be discouraged by the stock's high price-to-earnings multiple of nearly 50. However, if donanemab and tirzepatide become as successful as analysts expect, the premium today will be well worth it.

Too cheap to ignore

Prosper Junior Bakiny (Pfizer): Over the past year and a half, Pfizer has consistently delivered financial results that have been better than good. Yes, that's largely thanks to its COVID-19 vaccine and treatment, Comirnaty and Paxlovid, respectively. And yes, there is a good chance that the need for both products will drop after this year.

That's good news for the world. We seem to be getting closer to the end of the pandemic. But it isn't as big a blow to Pfizer as some might think. Unlike smaller biotechs that have made a fortune thanks to their coronavirus-related work, Pfizer has a lineup with dozens of other products, not to mention a rich pipeline. 

Pfizer has been on an acquisition spree, helping it further enrich its pipeline. The company is looking for its next blockbuster product. It currently has plenty of brand-new candidates in its pipeline. These include ritlecitinib, its potential alopecia treatment that is under regulatory review in the U.S. and Europe, as well as a potential mRNA-based influenza vaccine for which it recently started a phase 3 study.

Pfizer seems to have a bright future ahead, but the company's recent performance hardly reflects that outlook. The stock has underperformed the market this year.

The bright side is that Pfizer's shares look like a steal at current levels. The company is trading for just 6.8 times forward earnings, compared to a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 12.5 for the pharmaceutical industry.

In my view, the market is underestimating Pfizer's potential. Nobody knows how the next three months could shape up. The healthcare company could continue to face near-term issues, particularly if we enter a recession. However, Pfizer boasts substantial upside potential. Once things stabilize, expect its shares to soar. 

You ain't seen nothing yet

Keith Speights (Vertex Pharmaceuticals): Bachman-Turner Overdrive scored a big hit in the 70s with their release of "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet." I think the classic rock song could be a good theme for Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

Vertex's shares have already soared more than 30% year to date. This impressive performance has been due in large part to the company's strong revenue and earnings growth.

But Vertex could realistically be in just the early innings of its growth. The company still has plenty of market share left to capture with its cystic fibrosis (CF) drugs. No competitor stands in its way, either; the nearest rivals are in phase 2 testing.

It might not be long before Vertex has its first blockbuster outside of CF. The company and its partner, CRISPR Therapeutics, plan to file for regulatory approvals of exa-cel in Q4 in the EU and U.K. as a treatment for sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia. FDA submissions of the gene-editing therapy for both rare blood disorders are expected in Q1 2023.

Vertex's pipeline features three other promising late-stage programs as well. The company has a huge and growing cash stockpile to invest in development and acquisitions.

As an added bonus, Vertex is cheap with a price-to-earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio of only 0.38. This growth stock could realistically be a massive winner over the next few years, in my view.