The market has kept investors on a rollercoaster ride over the past year, and the choppy waters may continue for some time to come. No one can predict when smooth waters may be here to stay, particularly given the ongoing economic volatility that's affecting the current investing environment. 

Even so, companies with strong competitive advantages and underlying businesses continue rising to the top. Here are two such stocks to consider buying in the near future, regardless of whether another full-fledged bear market appears in 2023. 

1. Intuitive Surgical

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG 1.34%) has remained the indomitable leader in the field of surgical robotics for more than two decades for a few reasons. It had the advantage of having the first surgical robotics system approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for general laparoscopic surgery.

In the more than 20 years that have followed that landmark approval, Intuitive Surgical's flagship product, the da Vinci Surgical System, has been approved for use in a wide range of minimally invasive procedures, from colorectal to thoracic to gynecological to cardiac surgeries, and more. The company also garnered FDA approval for its minimally invasive lung biopsy system, the Ion, in 2019. 

However, a first-mover advantage doesn't always spell long-term success for a business. While this certainly gave Intuitive Surgical significant momentum, its ability to sustain and build on those tailwinds to remain the market leader it is today goes back to the stickiness of its underlying razor-and-blades business model. Intuitive Surgical makes a pretty penny from sales of its surgical systems -- estimates show that the da Vinci system alone costs upward of $2 million. But it makes even more money over time from the instruments, tools, accessories, services, and software it sells to support these systems.  

From replacement instruments that must be swapped out after every procedure to training and educational services to on-demand customer support, the range of recurring revenue sources that Intuitive Surgical taps into well after initial system installations has enabled a track record of steady revenue growth and profits. In fact, the trailing decade alone has seen Intuitive Surgical grow its annual revenue and net income by respective amounts of 175% and 97%, while the stock has delivered investors a total return of 364% in that same 10-year period.  

Procedure volumes have fluctuated in recent quarters as COVID-19 resurgences have affected certain markets. But growing adoption of surgical robotics systems, and expanding use cases for these systems both in and outside of minimally invasive surgery, mean this market leader is poised to continue growing in the future. Long-term investors would do well to take a buy-and-hold position in this stock in a well-diversified portfolio -- for both bull and bear markets. 

2. Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 0.88%) has built a profitable, industry-leading business with its high-performing portfolio of cystic fibrosis medications. It's the only company with drugs on the market that treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease affecting more than 160,000 people globally.  

Even as Vertex remains the clear dominator of this multi-billion-dollar addressable market, management said in the 2022 earnings call that as many as 20,000 people globally could benefit from its existing portfolio of medicines but aren't yet taking them.

That also doesn't cover the roughly 5,000 people worldwide who have cystic fibrosis and need a therapy that treats the underlying cause of their specific mutation of the disease, but do not yet have a medicine that does so. Vertex is already working to capture that corner of the market, by developing a medicine for this untapped segment of the cystic fibrosis patient population with Moderna.  

Vertex Pharmaceuticals is also setting its sights on other lucrative underpenetrated markets from which it can launch itself to further business successes. One example is its promising blood disorder candidate exa-cel, which it co-developed with CRISPR Therapeutics and which could be approved as soon as later this year. If given the regulatory green light, exa-cel would be the first CRISPR therapy approved for a genetic disease, and could pose a one-time functional cure for people with sickle cell disease and tranfusion-dependent beta thalassemia.  

Vertex also has many other promising drug candidates in the works, including a non-opioid drug for acute pain and multiple stem cell therapies for diabetes. This company hasn't even come remotely close to realizing its long-term growth potential. That's a welcome sign not just for its balance sheet, but for investors looking for a business operating in a highly resilient industry with a strong track record of consistent revenue growth, profitability, and returns.

Now could be an excellent time to take a second look at this healthcare giant for a multi-year buy-and-hold investment.