5 Biotech Stocks to Boost Your Portfolio's Health This Year

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Though the drug sector was off to a strong start in 2018, it has struggled thereafter probably on U.S. market instability and a few negative updates on the pipeline and regulatory front. Also, a slowdown in sales of some of the most high-profile older drugs, courtesy of payers and competitive pressure from both branded and generic drugs, is a concern for the sector. Moreover, concerns about pressure on drug prices continue to cloud shares of pharma and biotech companies.

Drug pricing has been in the spotlight once again this month when President Donald Trump announced plans to lower prescription drug costs. He laid out his vision of increasing competition, lowering consumers' out-of-pocket costs for drugs, creating incentives to lower list prices, cutting down regulatory burdens and asking the FDA to make it compulsory for drug companies to display prices in their TV advertisements.

The biotech industry has declined 9.9% this year so far, underperforming the 0.5% rise for the S&P 500 in the same time frame.

CRISPR Therapeutics AG CRSP

On a year-to-date basis, shares of CRISPR Therapeutics have gained 213.4%. Meanwhile, loss estimates of this Swiss gene editing company narrowed 7.8% for 2018 and 9% for 2019 over the past 30 days. CRISPR Therapeutics sports a Zacks Rank #1.

BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc. BMRN

BioMarin's earnings estimates rose 47.7% for 2018 and 20.9% for 2019 in the past 60 days. Shares of this California-based biotech, which makes rare disease drugs, have risen 1.6% this year so far.

This Zacks Rank #2 stock is expected to record sales growth of 13.4% this year and 15.1% next year

Athersys, Inc. ATHX

Athersys carries a Zacks Rank #2. Loss estimates for this Cleveland, OH-based company narrowed 29.4% for 2018 and 19.6% for 2019 in the last 30 days. Sales growth this year for this biotech stock is expected to be 426.4%. Athersys' shares have returned 35.9% this year so far.

Aeglea BioTherapeutics, Inc. AGLE

Loss estimates for this #2 Ranked stock narrowed 13.5% for 2018 and 7.5% for 2019 in the last 30 days. Sales growth of this Texas-based biotech is expected to be 15.3% this year. Aeglea's shares have returned 88.9% this year so far.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals LGND

This #2 Ranked stock's earnings per share estimates increased 11.8% for 2018 and 8% for 2019 in the last 60 days. This California-based company's shares have rallied 39.8% year to date. This company is expected to record sales growth of 37.7% this year and 14.3% next year.

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Sanofi (SNY): Free Stock Analysis Report

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN): Free Stock Analysis Report

Celgene Corporation (CELG): Free Stock Analysis Report

Athersys, Inc. (ATHX): Free Stock Analysis Report

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND): Free Stock Analysis Report

Aeglea BioTherapeutics, Inc. (AGLE): Free Stock Analysis Report

CRISPR THERAPTC (CRSP): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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