The healthcare sector is packed with high-growth but risky investment opportunities, yet one stock appears to have everything a long-term investor should look for: organic growth, growth by acquisition, a mountain of collaborative partners, and a generous shareholder return policy.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG).
Organic growth? You bet!
Celgene's strength comes from its dynamic trio -- multiple myeloma blockbuster Revlimid, cancer drug Abraxane, and anti-inflammatory pill Otezla.
Revlimid has been growing by a double-digit percentage for years and is likely to continue to do so, especially with more than a half-dozen label expansion opportunities, growing demand in multiple myeloma, and strong pricing power. Otezla has already been approved in psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis but is being studied in a half-dozen additional indications. Finally, Abraxane is being studied in first-line triple-negative breast cancer after seeing its label expanded to metastatic pancreatic cancer and first-line non-small-cell lung cancer within the past couple of years.
Organic growth is a big reason Celgene anticipates that its sales and EPS could more than double by 2020.
Collaborations? How about 31?
Understanding that it can't be everywhere at once, Celgene also has a monstrously deep collaborative pipeline. All told, Celgene currently counts 31 external partners, most of which are focused on oncology or immunology and inflammation.
OncoMed is attempting to attack cancer stem cells, which are believed to be the source of cancer metastasis and recurrence. Anti-cancer stem cell therapy demcizumab demonstrated an anti-tumor response in phase 1b studies and is being further examined in two phase 2 trials (DENALI and YOSEMITE) for use alongside Abraxane.
Agios' IDH2- and IDH1-mutant inhibitors AG-221 and AG-120 have respectively shown a lot of promise in treating certain types of blood cancers. Particularly noteworthy was AG-221's overall response rate of 40%, which could allow it to become a new standard of care in treating acute myeloid leukemia.
Growth by acquisition? Yeah, Celgene has that covered, too!
In 2010, Celgene purchased Abraxis BioScience for $2.9 billion, gaining hold of Abraxane. Since generating $314.5 million in sales in 2009, Abraxane is on pace for as much as $1 billion in sales in 2015. Its label expansion into NSCLC and pancreatic cancer have sparked its growth.
Celgene's most recent acquisition involved its gobbling up Receptos for $7.2 billion this summer. The marquee experimental drug of this deal is ozanimod, a next-generation oral relapsing multiple sclerosis drug that has the potential to bring in $4 billion to $6 billion in annual sales at its peak. Furthermore, the buyout should help Celgene diversify its revenue stream away from Revlimid, which was responsible for 62% of its revenue in the third quarter.
Shareholder returns? In the billions.
Although Celgene is pouring most of its operational cash flow into research and development and its collaborations, it has set aside a substantial amount of money for its share repurchase program. With $1.2 billion still remaining on its prior buyback program, Celgene authorized another $4 billion worth of buybacks in June. As of the end of Q3, Celgene still had $4.3 billion remaining under its repurchase authorization.
Share buybacks help lower the number of outstanding shares, and thus it can have a positive effect on EPS, and potentially even make Celgene's valuation look more attractive.
Celgene really has everything that a long-term healthcare investor could ask for. If you're looking for a spark of investing inspiration, look no further than Celgene.
Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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