The stock market is in the midst of a powerful and blistering rally. There’s a vigorous debate about whether a new bull market has begun or if is this just a…
head fake within a bear market. Even among those who agree about the destination – disagree about how the market gets there.
Rather than dive into these arguments, it’s better to focus on high-conviction ideas. One of these is that the biotech sector has bottomed even if the broader market may not have. In the biotech sector, investors should target high-quality stocks with strong pipelines.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) is a high-quality biotech with these characteristics. Read on to find out why it’s our growth stock of the week…
VRTX discovers and develops small-molecule drugs for the treatment of serious diseases. Its key drugs are Kalydeco, Orkambi, Symdeko, and Trikafta for cystic fibrosis, where Vertex therapies remain the standard of care globally. The company also focuses on developing treatments for pain, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory diseases, influenza, and other rare diseases.
The company’s cystic fibrosis drugs are poised to continue dominating the market for the foreseeable future due to the disease-modifying potential of the drugs, consistent use by patients, and very little competition. VRTX combination therapies also have lengthy patents, which protect its cystic fibrosis portfolio from generics. There is also potential for its non-cystic fibrosis pipeline, which has exposure to promising areas, such as AAT deficiency, sickle cell disease, and beta-thalassemia.
One reason to favor biotech and pharmaceutical stocks in this environment is that their earnings prospects are less connected to factors like economic growth and monetary policy. This is because healthcare spending is related to trends like demographics and increasing government spending on healthcare.
In particular, VRTX is the only pharma company with a treatment for cystic fibrosis. And, this should continue to grow at a healthy pace as it gets approval into new markets and for younger ages. The company’s pipeline is also well-stocked with candidates for diabetes, including a treatment that would replace pancreatic cells that just delivered promising results in clinical trials.
Despite this impressive growth, VRTX is quite cheap with a forward P/E of 18 which is slightly higher than the S&P 500’s forward P/E. Yet, this is justified given that VRTX has much less risk of an earnings decline due to…
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