Pharma stocks can be a great way to add profits to your investment account. Companies that make lifesaving medications or develop treatments to ease symptoms can be true moneymakers. Finding the best pharma stocks to buy is well worth your time and effort.
But finding the right pharma stocks to buy can be tricky. You have to be comfortable with some fundamental truths about pharma stocks before you can decide if this is a good investment for you.
Pharma stocks are heavily affected by regulation. In the U.S., drugs don’t make it to market without approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The European Union, the U.K., China and other countries have their own regulators. Waiting for approval can be painful for an investor.
Even more painful is the extensive research and development window for a new drug. There’s no such thing as a quick profit when new treatments have to go through multiple rounds of tests and clinical trials. At any point, a drug could fail a trial, sinking its prospects.
Of course, once the drug is approved, then the profits come. Drugs that enjoy patent protection mean that the company can expect significant revenue without having to worry about a generic competitor.
But remember, patent protection doesn’t last forever, which means drug companies need to maintain a strong pipeline of potential drugs to develop.
Pharma stocks can be a great investment, particularly if they have solid performance, revenue growth and a positive outlook. Here are seven pharma stocks to buy that meet those criteria.
MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) makes and commercializes products and devices for people who have endocrine and orphan lung diseases.
Its products include Afrezza, an inhaled insulin treatment for people with diabetes that’s already approved for U.S. use and is awaiting international approvals. It also makes Tivaso, a dry powdered inhaler that’s approved by regulators.
Second-quarter earnings sent the company’s stock up by nearly 20% in a single day when it was released in August. Revenue of $48.6 million was up from $18.9 million a year ago. The company nearly broke even, trimming its loss to less than $400,000. A year ago in the same quarter, MannKind lost $29 million.
The concept of an inhaled insulin treatment rather than a shot is appealing, and the company’s sales bode well for the future. MNKD stock has a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader, making it one of the more solid pharma stocks to buy.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
Things can change pretty quickly in the stock market. Just a few months ago, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) was on my list of dividend stocks to avoid because of unimpressive performance that pushed the price close to a 52-week low. Now it’s on this list of pharma stocks to buy.
The company got a huge bump from its second-quarter earnings report, bouncing close to 10% in a day. Earnings of $2.80 per share were much better than expectations of $2.62 per share. Revenue of $25.53 billion was up 6.3% from a year ago.
The company also expressed confidence that growth would continue for the rest of the year. JNJ raised its 2023 outlook to a range of $10.70 to $10.80 per share, up from its previous prediction of $10.60 to $10.70 per share.
JNJ stock is up 4% from March, and it has a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) is another pharma stock that had a great reversal of fortune in the last year. In August 2022, Biogen actually had an “F” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
But as we discussed, pharma stocks are very reliant on regulatory approvals, and Biogen is on the move after it got approval this summer from the FDA for its Alzheimer’s drug, Leqembi.
The drug is said to be the first treatment that reduces cognitive decline in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is an awful disease affecting more than 6 million in the U.S. alone. As dementia sets in, affecting memory, thinking and behavior, Alzheimer’s eventually destroys memory and thinking skills. Analysts say Biogen could bring in $12.9 billion in sales by 2030.
Biogen also plans to buy Reata Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RETA), which would give it rights to Skyclarys, which is a promising treatment for the neurogenerative condition Friedrich’s ataxia. Skyclarys already has approval from the FDA and is projected to bring in annual sales of $1.5 billion.
BIIB stock has a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY)
Unlike some other names on this list, Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) is not a comeback story. This blue-chip pharmaceutical stock has a solid track record and has been on my “buy” list for a while.
Lilly investors are playing the waiting game for the FDA to approve the company’s diabetes drug Mounjaro to treat obesity. But the wait will be worth it; 42% of U.S. adults are considered to be obese, and a drug that can help them melt away the pounds is expected to bring LLY as much as $25 billion in annual revenues.
Mounjaro already brings in $1 billion in sales each quarter as a diabetes drug, but doctors are already prescribing it, in some cases to their patients for obesity.
Q2 earnings were $8.31 billion in revenue and $2.11 per share in profits, both beating expectations for $7.61 billion and $2 per share.
LLY stock has an “A” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
The company’s stock is up 215% in 2023, and that’s even after a slight dip over the last two months. ImmunoGen still has plenty left in the tank.
The company develops antibody-drug conjugate technology to treat cancer. ADCs are toxins that kill cancer when attached to a biodegradable linker to a specific antibody.
The trick is to find the correct toxin and correct antibody and match it to a biodegradable linker that works. But when effective, ImmunoGen can develop ADCs that are tolerable to cancer patients and attack the cancer.
Its ovarian cancer drug, Elahere, is already on the market and ImmunoGen is working on getting approvals for it to be used for other types of cancer.
IMGN stock gets a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Merck & Co. (MRK)
Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) is a major pharma stock, making everything from medicines and vaccines to animal health products.
Two of its biggest sellers are Keytruda, a cancer immunotherapy drug, and Gardasil, which is used to treat human papillomavirus (HPV).
With a market capitalization of $276 billion, Merck has deep pockets, which it uses to fund extensive research and keep its pipeline of future drug candidates strong.
Currently, Merck has more than 30 programs in Phase 3 testing and more than 80 in Phase 2 testing. Its drug candidates treat cancer, hypertension, schizophrenia, Dengue fever and more.
Merck topped analysts’ expectations for revenue in the second quarter, bringing in $15.04 billion versus expectations for $14.45 billion. But the company also posted a loss of $2.06 per share, thanks to its purchase of Prometheus Biosciences. The $10.8 billion deal was completed in June.
The deal adds Prometheus’ pipeline to its own and now includes Prometheus’ top candidate, which is a potential treatment for ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and autoimmune disorders.
MRK stock is down 4% so far this year, but it also pays a solid dividend of 2.6%. It has a “B” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Novo Nordisk (NVO)
Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) is a Danish biotechnology company that is best known for its work in helping people manage symptoms of diabetes.
The company has made more than 600 million insulin pens, producing roughly half of the global supply.
It also makes the successful weight loss drug Wegovy and a diabetes drug, Ozempic, which is becoming a popular alternative as an obesity treatment. It launched Wegovy in the U.K. in September, despite concerns that the drug was so popular that Novo Nordisk wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand.
The company said sales in the first half of the year were up 30% from a year ago to $15.9 million. Profits were up 43%. Novo Nordisk issued guidance for full-year operating profit of 31% to 37%, and sales growth of 27% to 33%.
NVO stock is up 41% this year and gets an “A” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
On the date of publication, Louis Navellier had long positions in LLY and NVO. Louis Navellier did not have (either directly or indirectly) any other positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
The InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.