It's no secret that many investors have explored cryptocurrency with the hopes of achieving outsized portfolio gains. And while certain crypto investments could prove a fitting addition to some well-rounded portfolios, you don't need to delve into this space to compound meaningful returns over time. 

While it's true that growth stocks don't make investors jump for joy like they used to, companies in this investment category that can win over the long term are still to be found. We're going to take a look at three of them today. 

Let's jump right in. 

1. Vertex Pharmaceuticals 

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 0.63%) is a bit of a rarity in the world of healthcare stocks, boasting a business that tends to generate revenue and earnings growth at a clip well beyond that of the average stock in this space. Case in point: The company has seen its annual revenue and earnings surge by respective amounts of 204% and 789% in the past five years. The stock has soared in kind by 50% over the past year alone. 

The reason for these impressive gains is the very specific and fast-growing niche of the healthcare industry on which Vertex has trained its focus: the rare-disease drug market. Currently, all of Vertex's approved products are centered around an even narrower slice of the rare disease market, and one in which it maintains the leading market share: cystic fibrosis drugs. Roughly 1,000 people are diagnosed with the rare genetic disease in the U.S. alone every year. 

Vertex's cystic fibrosis medicines belong to a revolutionary class of drugs known as CFTR modulators, which work to deal with the underlying cause of the genetic disease. And the only CFTR modulators on the market today are Vertex's, which is why the company has continued to maintain such a tight grip on the cystic fibrosis drug space even as the prevalence of the disease is growing.

The company recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its investigational new drug application for VX-522, the product of a long-standing partnership with Moderna. The mRNA drug candidate is designed to treat the cystic fibrosis patient population that is unable to benefit from CFTR modulators. While it's still early days and a single-dose escalation study is about to be launched in the coming months, the success of such a candidate would only further tighten Vertex's grip on the multibillion-dollar addressable cystic fibrosis treatment market. 

Vertex's burgeoning pipeline includes a range of promising candidates that treat other rare genetic diseases like blood and kidney disorders. The company may also be on the cusp of gaining regulatory approval for the gene-editing candidate exa-cel, co-developed with CRISPR Therapeutics, which is a one-time therapy for sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia.

The company's current portfolio of highly profitable medicines gives it significant optionality to continue generating consistent growth in the years ahead. And as Vertex expands its share of the broader rare-disease drug market, this creates a multitude of long-term tailwinds from which investors can benefit. 

2. Amazon

As a shareholder of this next stock, I can attest to the fact that it's been a bumpy year, to say the least. Amazon (AMZN -1.51%) has seen shares plunge by nearly 50% in 2022 alone. Part of the reason that Amazon stock has taken such a beating goes back to the broader trends that have been afflicting growth stocks and tech companies over the past year.

Investor sentiment has soured on these types of companies in a high-interest-rate environment where consumer spending is down, and less capital is flowing in general than in previous periods. In terms of business-related headwinds that have put off some investors, Amazon has also seen decelerations in its top- and bottom-line growth, as well as pressure on its margins in recent quarters.

However, these movements have primarily been driven by high inflation, supply chain and labor disruptions, and foreign currency weaknesses. Like other companies dealing with these pressures, Amazon can streamline its operations to a certain extent to accommodate them, but some of it is a waiting game. 

However, if you're investing in Amazon for five, 10, or 15 years, this environment shouldn't deter you from buying the stock for its long-term, untapped potential. And yes, even a company like Amazon hasn't come close to exhausting its growth runway. The company continues to dominate in two of the most profitable and rapidly growing industries on the face of the planet: the $10 trillion e-commerce market and the $500 billion cloud computing market.

It also continues to expand its footprint in lucrative spaces like healthcare and entertainment. While net sales rose just 15% in the most recent quarter, not only was this in line with what management had projected, but it follows the trailing decade when Amazon saw its annual revenue and net earnings rise by 531% and 13,000%, respectively.  

Most of the headwinds facing Amazon right now aren't business-related, and they shouldn't keep long-term investors at bay. If anything, the near-term pressures driving Amazon's stock price down may present an excellent opportunity to buy the tech behemoth while it's trading at a discount

3. Airbnb 

Airbnb (ABNB -1.83%) is often viewed by investors as a stock that's highly dependent on the cyclicality and consumer-driven nuances of the travel industry at large. While Airbnb certainly has deep ties to this sector, the company is increasingly proving that it's much more than just a traditional travel stock. 

First off, the trajectory of its recovery over the past few years has significantly eclipsed that of the average travel stock. In 2021, Airbnb saw its revenue rise 25% compared to 2019 while its net loss was nearly halved on a two-year basis. Fast-forward to the most recent quarter, and its revenue and net income of $3 billion and $1.2 billion represented respective increases of 65% and 260% compared to the same quarter in 2019.   

There's also the reality that even as the Airbnb platform continues to be a top destination for regular travelers and vacationers, it is rapidly evolving into a business that has something to offer everyone.

From remote workers looking to relocate to a new city for two to three months at a time to individuals saying goodbye to traditional long-term leases in favor of the flexibility of Airbnbs, more and more people are living rather than simply vacationing in these dwellings.

As of the most recent quarter, 20% of all bookings on Airbnb are derived from long-term stays (which is 28 days or more). Analysts project that the stock can continue to grow its top line at an average clip of 20% annually for the next five years alone, and some think it could present significant upside in just the next 12 months.  

While no stock will be immune in the event of an economic downturn, a diverse business like Airbnb that derives its growth from multiple types of consumer tailwinds appears well-positioned to survive and thrive well beyond the potential of a recessionary period. For patient investors, this could create an opportunity that's simply too good to pass up.