Vertex Therapeutics (VRTX -0.69%) and Amgen (AMGN 1.77%) have swum against the tide all year, with their shares rising as the S&P 500 has struggled. The biotech companies have strong fundamentals in their favor, but both could do even better in 2023.

 While Vertex's pipeline is about to extend well beyond cystic fibrosis (CF), Amgen's combination of emerging drugs, plus the accretive nature of its deal to buy Horizon Therapeutics, could reward investors in the long run.

Let's take a deeper look at these businesses and see why they are solid investments for the near future. 

Vertex moving beyond cystic fibrosis

Vertex's CF drugs have provided enough revenue to allow the company to develop its pipeline into gene-editing and acute pain therapies. So far this year, the company's stock is up 32%.

Vertex is awaiting regulatory approval for exa-cel, a one-time gene-editing treatment it is co-developing with CRISPR Therapeutics to potentially cure two rare genetic blood disorders -- transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia (TBD) and sickle cell disease (SCD).

The prospective patient pool for TBD is relatively small, with roughly 5,000 people in the United States with the disease, according to the National Center for Translational Sciences. There are roughly 100,000 people in the U.S. living with SCD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That exa-cel has been shown to not only treat the two blood disorders but potentially end the need for transfusions is what makes it a big deal.

In the meantime, the company is looking to expand on its CF franchise. Earlier this month, its Investigational New Drug (IND) application for VX-522, an mRNA therapy to treat CF, was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company said it would begin a trial for VX-522 soon. 

Another potential blockbuster for Vertex is VX-548 -- to treat acute and neuropathic pain. The non-opioid drug is expected to advance into phase 3 trials early next year. Against this background, Vertex said it expects full-year revenue to fall between $8.8 billion and $8.9 billion, representing a rise of 16.8% over 2021's revenue of $7.5 billion at the mid-range. Through nine months, the company reported a net income of $2.5 billion, up 59.2% year over year, and earnings per share (EPS) of $9.68, up 60.5% over the same period last year.

Amgen is making a big move

Amgen's stock is up 18% this year. The biotech company is in the process of buying Horizon for $27.8 billion. With it comes Horizon's thyroid eye disease therapy, Tepezza; Uplinza, which treats another eye disorder, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder; and gout drug Krstexxa. The three drugs helped bring in $2.67 billion for Horizon in the first nine months of the year, up 21% year over year.

Horizon also has a pipeline that includes autoimmune drug HZN-1116, and T-cell therapy daxdilimab, which is in phase 2 trials to treat kidney transplant rejection, rheumatoid arthritis, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (a rare kidney disease), and Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. Another pipeline drug with potential is dazodalibep, which is used to treat several autoimmune disorders, including dermatomyositis, alopecia areata, and lupus. Amgen said that the purchase of Horizon could be accretive to the company's bottom line by 2024.

Amgen can afford to buy Horizon because of its own financial strength. The company said it projects to make between $26 billion and $26.3 billion this year in revenue, which, at the midpoint, represents a rise of 0.006% over 2021. Thanks to cost-cutting, Amgen said it expects yearly EPS to be between $11.46 to $12.17, compared to $10.28 in 2021.

While osteoporosis drug Prolia was Amgen's top-selling therapy in the third quarter with $862 million in revenue -- up 7% year over year -- the company has other drugs with increased sales. Cholesterol therapy Repatha had $309 million in sales, up 14% over the same period last year, while osteoporosis drug Evenity had $201 million in revenue, up 35% over the third quarter of 2021.

Perhaps the most exciting Amgen drug is cancer drug Blincyto, which had $142 million in sales in the quarter, up 14% year over year, and is coming off a strong phase 3 trial to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia in patients who have had a round of chemotherapy.

The company's stock also got a boost this year when it said AMG133 had allowed patients in a phase 1 trial to maintain a weight loss for 70 days. 

Another attractive feature of Amgen is its quarterly dividend. The company is increasing next quarter by 10% to $2.13 per share, giving it a yield of around 3.2%, 75% better than the S&P 500 average dividend. The company has raised its dividend every year since 2011, with a payout ratio of 43.27%, leaving room for additional increases.