Equities experienced a bear market in 2022, and although things have improved significantly over the past few months, it's impossible to say whether we are out of the woods. However, some corporations have managed solid performances throughout this period. This group of companies includes Sanofi (SNY 0.87%) and Axsome Therapeutics (AXSM 1.41%). These drugmakers also have excellent prospects that should allow them to keep their momentum for a while, making both stocks attractive. Let's dig in a little deeper. 

1. Sanofi

France-based Sanofi is a biotech giant with a diversified portfolio of medicines and vaccines, although it is perhaps best known for being one of the leaders in the insulin market. The company grabbed headlines in this space earlier this year when it decided to cut the price of its top-prescribed insulin product, Lantus, by 78% and limit out-of-pocket costs to $35. The changes will go into effect next year.

Sanofi hardly had a choice. Its only real competitors in this market made similar moves. But this initiative should do little to affect the company over the long run. Even within the diabetes care area, Sanofi can rely on other medicines such as Toujeo, an insulin product whose sales are still growing. Toujeo's revenue came in at 289 million euros in the first quarter, 4.4% higher than the prior-year quarter.

Also, on April 27, Sanofi completed its acquisition of Provention Bio, a biotech that focused on developing medicines to delay or prevent the onset of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes. The key asset in this transaction was Tzield, the first medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to delay the onset of type 1 diabetes. Tzield earned the green light late last year, and it should start contributing to Sanofi's financial results soon. 

Beyond diabetes care, Sanofi has other exciting plans. One of the company's key growth drivers is eczema treatment Dupixent, the rights of which it shares with Regeneron. This therapy's total sales in the first quarter soared by 39.7% year over year to 2.3 billion euros. Dupixent delivered excellent results in a phase 3 clinical trial in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in March. Sanofi and Regeneron argue that Dupixent is the first biologic to reduce moderate or severe COPD exacerbations significantly.

Given that COPD is the third-leading cause of death worldwide, this new indication could be a big deal for Sanofi. And the company's pipeline has other exciting candidates. In January, it submitted an application to the FDA for a potential RSV vaccine. Further, the company's pipeline features over two dozen programs in phase 3 studies alone and many more in earlier stages.

The company's total net sales in the first quarter were 10.2 billion euros, 5.5% higher than the year-ago period. Sanofi's adjusted net income per share of $2.16 increased by 11.9% year over year. With an excellent lineup and a rich pipeline, the company should continue delivering quality results and stock market returns. 

2. Axsome Therapeutics 

With a market capitalization of just $3.3 billion, Axsome Therapeutics isn't as big as Sanofi. But the mid-cap drugmaker boasts exciting prospects. The company became a commercial-stage one last year with the approval of depression therapy Auvelity and the acquisition of Sunosi, which treats narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). In the first quarter, Axsome racked up total revenue of $94.6 million versus none at all in the comparable period of the previous fiscal year.

But what's even more exciting for the biotech is its pipeline which should yield important results in the next few years. Auvelity is being tested in a second phase 3 clinical trial targeting Alzheimer's disease agitation after passing the first with flying colors. Sunosi is also being tested as a potential therapy for ADHD. Axsome plans to start a late-stage study to that end during the ongoing quarter.

The company also expects top-line data from an ongoing phase 3 study for AXS-12 in treating narcolepsy in the second quarter. Meanwhile, there are regulatory submissions on the horizon for the company, too, specifically those of AXS-07 and AXS-14 in treating migraines and fibromyalgia, respectively. Axsome expects to submit both applications later this year.

With a relatively young lineup, it's not surprising that Axsome Therapeutics is still unprofitable. The company reported a net loss per share of $0.26 in the first quarter, compared to a loss per share of $1.03 in the year-ago period. But Axsome'a late-stage pipeline should result in a much more extensive lineup in just a few years, leading to improved financial results overall.

The biotech has managed to beat the market over the past year due to its pipeline and regulatory progress. Expect more of the same for Axsome Therapeutics from here on out.