It was a wild year for Life Sciences stocks on the TSX, with exciting new entrants and several stocks that raced.
Headlines in 2014 were dominated by Valeant’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to acquire Botox-maker Allergan, but were spiked with the stories of Cipher Pharmaceuticals, which soared on the promise of a strong lead drug, the FDA approved acne treatment Absorica, TSO3, which generated interest as it waited for its low temperature hospital sterilizer, Sterizone VP4, to be approved by the FDA, and former Paladin Labs CEO Jonathan Goodman’s latest pharmaceutical endeavor: Knight Therapeutics.
Ultimately, however, the analysts we anonymously polled felt these three companies were most worthy of the title of 2014 Cantech Letter TSX Life Sciences Stock of the Year. These stocks are listed in alphabetical order. You can vote for your favourite below. The winner will be presented the award at the Cantech Letter Awards Gala Dinner, (brought to you by Difference Capital and Wildeboer Dellelce) which follows the Cantech Investment Conference, January 15th at the Toronto Convention Centre.
Concordia Healthcare (TSX:CXR)
Concordia only recently went public, but it has quickly become a Bay Street darling, noted Cantech Letter Life Sciences Associate Editor Hogan Mullally. Run by Mark Thompson, ex-Biovail (now Valeant), the business is an eclectic gathering of legacy pharmaceutical products, a late-stage orphan disease drug candidate, and specialty medical distribution. The company had US$40 million in revenue in 2013 and with recent acquisitions is trending much higher for 2014. Concordia’s aggressive growth strategy and revenue ramp have certainly contributed towards its surging valuation, but it’s attractiveness as a potential inversion target also seems to have captured investor’s imaginations.
ProMetic Life Sciences (TSX:PLI)
In a research update to clients in late November, Paradigm Capital analyst Alan Ridgeway outlined the reason he was raising his target on ProMetic. The analyst said he likes the stock’s risk/return profile because it has signed up partners who bring financial and commercial support, because of the “locked in” nature of its resin sales to licensees, and because of the potential upside from partnerships and licensing deals in its therapeutics business. “Overall, we continue to believe PLI offers one of the best risk/reward opportunities in our universe,” said Ridgeway.
Investors got a taste of Burnaby-based biotech Tekmira’s leadership role in the potentially game-changing field of RNA interference (RNAi) after the West African Ebola crisis. RNAi is a new approach to drug development, whereby genes that produce proteins implicated in disease, can be “silenced”, hence it is sometimes referred to as gene silencing.