Insights

3 Fast-Growing Stocks to Buy Now

It’s really exciting to see triple-digit revenue growth. ShockWave Medical (NASDAQ: SWAV) and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: BCRX) are blowing the roof off right now, with 194% and 162% sales increases, respectively.

Sometimes you see astronomical growth in a healthcare stock because a drug company can go from zero drugs on the market to getting an approval (or Emergency Use Authorization) from the Food and Drug Administration. That’s the case with Vir Biotechnology (NASDAQ: VIR), a biotech that saw an astounding 62,000% jump in sales in the first quarter.

Here’s why we’re bullish on these three biotech stocks.

The kind of shock your portfolio needs right now

Patrick Bafuma (ShockWave Medical): When it comes to growth in healthcare, there are few companies with the potential of ShockWave Medical. Its intravascular lithotripsy system treats clogged blood vessels using sound waves to crack the calcified plaque, thereby allowing increased blood flow. This is a huge market with plenty of optionality, totaling just north of $8.5 billion.

Since hitting the market in February 2021, the company’s coronary product, the ShockWave C2, is already on a tear. In the first quarter of 2022, the company generated $93.6 million in revenue, a 194% increase from the same period a year ago.

It raised guidance in its last earnings call, from a range of $405 million to $425 million, to a range of $435 million to $455 million in full-year 2022 revenue. The company’s razor-and-blades model has led to 86% gross margins in the first quarter, and it was even able to generate a small profit. With $14.5 million in net income for the quarter and just over $200 million in cash and cash equivalents, the company’s strong financial position means shareholders might not have to worry about dilution anytime soon.

There are over 6 million procedures for cardiac stent placements performed worldwide each year, plus over 2 million procedures for peripheral arterial disease, a painful condition in the legs caused by decreased blood flow. I love the optionality for ShockWave Medical to treat just about any clogged artery — setting it up for years of plentiful growth.

And with increased procedural success rates and decreased complication rates, this could lift the number of patients being eligible for its therapy. Patients who were previously considered at high risk might now be eligible for treatment with this medtech’s lower-risk options.

At a price-to-sales ratio of about 25, this medical device company is currently richly valued. But with such torrid growth ahead, healthcare investors looking for high-growth stocks might want to consider getting in early on ShockWave Medical.

Vir’s COVID drug is still printing money

Taylor Carmichael (Vir Biotchnology): Vir Bio saw a massive revenue spike (up 64,000%) in the first quarter thanks to its COVID blockbuster treatment, Xevudy. The biotech had $1.2 billion in revenue in the quarter. Over the last year, Vir reports $2.3 billion in sales, all from this one drug. That’s huge for a tiny biotech (market cap $3.8 billion).  

Vir handled the drug discovery of the molecule, while its big-pharma partner GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) is taking care of sales and distribution. So Vir has a sweetheart of a deal, pulling in 72.5% of all sales. It got some bad news in April, as the FDA pulled its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Xevudy in the wake of a new Omicron subvariant, BA.2, becoming dominant in the U.S. But the rest of the world did not follow suit, electing to keep Vir’s treatment on the market.

Without U.S. sales in the second quarter, Vir gave a low-ball estimate for its revenue. The company estimated that 100,000 doses of the COVID treatment would be sold in the second quarter. At a price point averaging about $2,100 per dose, that works out to $210 million in second-quarter sales for Xevudy. And Vir’s take would be about $150 million. The seven analysts following Vir penciled in an average estimate of $215 million.

Well, scratch all that. Glaxo just reported $600 million in Xevudy sales around the world in the second quarter. Vir’s take in the second quarter will be about $435 million, or double what the analysts are expecting.

Xevudy is still a major blockbuster. And in the third quarter, Vir and Glaxo will initiate a study to see if a higher dose of Xevudy will be more effective against the BA.2 subvariant. Buy shares of Vir Bio for its COVID treatment, and get the rest of the company’s pipeline for free. 

A beaten-down biotech that’s worth the risk

George Budwell (BioCryst Pharmaceuticals): This year has been a mess for biotech stocks. Despite an ongoing innovation boom in the space, investors have migrated away from biotech equities in 2022 due to their elevated risk profiles.

But this mass exodus has created some intriguing buying opportunities for savvy investors. The rare-disease specialist BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, for example, is a high-growth stock that could generate big returns for bargain hunters over the next few years.

BioCryst’s hereditary angioedema (HAE) drug, Orladeyo, has been gobbling up market share at a breakneck pace of late. The company thinks Orladeyo, which is administered orally, will eventually achieve over $1 billion in peak sales as a result of its clear-cut competitive advantages.

Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $570 million for the drug’s top-end sales isn’t nearly as optimistic. But even that amount implies a current upside potential in BioCryst’s shares of over 48%. In spite of these fairly rosy forecasts, though, BioCryst’s shares have still lost an unsightly 22% in value so far this year. 

What’s the risk? Wall Street isn’t entirely sold on Orladeyo’s ability to continue racking up market share against a raft of entrenched competitors. The drug’s red-hot sales data since launch, however, suggest otherwise. As things stand, Orladeyo is on track to treat close to a third of the HAE patients currently under care by this time next year. That’s an impressive feat for a drug that is still in its infancy from a launch standpoint.

All told, BioCryst’s stock comes across as a downright steal after its hefty pullback in 2022. 

George Budwell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Patrick Bafuma has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Taylor Carmichael has positions in Vir Biotechnology Inc. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends ShockWave Medical. The Motley Fool recommends GlaxoSmithKline. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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