Earnings reporting season is just about over, and as usual, there are a few noteworthy drugmakers with earnings results or other important events that I've missed. Here are three health-care stocks worth a look now.
Considering the way that many drugmakers' assets are being bid up lately, Acorda Therapeutics is looking more and more interesting, thanks to its top pipeline candidate, fampridine-SR (sustained release). Right now, shares of Acorda are trading at a market capitalization of less than $600 million. That's heading toward cheap -- if (and this is a big if) the company can put to rest the seizure issues that have occurred with fampridine. The drug's benefits in neurological functioning are less in doubt, since a shorter-duration version of the drug has performed reasonably well in the clinic (and so has fampridine-SR), but the safety profile is worrisome.
Fampridine-SR won't provide any added efficacy to MS patients' current therapies, but it will reduce some of their symptoms, and it could easily be marketed alongside other MS drugs. If fampridine-SR can make it to market and resolve its seizure safety questions, several multiple-sclerosis-fighting drugmakers, like Teva
It's not a drug stock, but rather a supplier of information to drugmakers. IMS Health reported 12% revenue growth and adjusted earnings per share of $1.53 last year. IMS's guidance for 2008 is for 6% to 9% revenue growth and earnings at least 11% higher.
While IMS's growth is not enough to make it the next Rule Breakers phenom, investors looking to escape the volatility of the broader stock market may like IMS Health for its somewhat more recession-proof business. It's also got a huge competitive advantage in aggregating and providing all sorts of health-care and prescription-drug data to drugmakers, analysts, and other groups within the health-care arena.
Last week, PDL made a deal to sell its manufacturing facility for $240 million to Danish-based Genmab, best known for its huge $2 billion partnership deal with GlaxoSmithKline
Ironically, even though activist hedge fund Third Point has deserted it, PDL has been following the advice of that and other funds: breaking itself apart and getting fair prices for its assets. Investing in a biotech based on the prospect of a buyout is never a good idea (and that goes for Acorda as well), but it's hard not to hope that PDL is tidying itself up for a sale of the most valuable part of the company -- its royalty streams. We'll have to see if PDL can continue on this thus-far-successful path.