As the Coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on world economies and healthcare systems, all eyes turned to the pharmaceutical industry. While people the world over were hopeful for a vaccine to help mitigate some of the damage done by the virus, it seemed unlikely that one would come quickly.
After all, the fastest humanity has ever developed a vaccine was four years, and that was for the mumps. The Ebola vaccine was another “miracle drug,” taking only five years to produce. In reality, most vaccines take between 10 and 15 years to develop.
So, the timeline for a COVID-ending vaccine wasn’t expected to be a truncated one and many healthcare professionals steeled themselves for a lengthy wait.
But perhaps never before in human history had a group of scientists concentrated their collected effort so strongly on one cause: finding a vaccine. And so it was that, miraculously, a number of companies were able to announce that they had discovered an antidote.
In November 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, the University of Oxford, and the Gamaleya Institute each announced their own successful Phase III trials. Sinopharm also announced a successful vaccine. Quickly, governments around the world started approving the vaccines for public consumption and they were shipped around the world.
Then, on Tuesday, December 8 2020, 334 days after the first reported Covid-19 death in China, 90-year-old Margaret Keenan of Britain became the first person in the world to receive a clinically approved Coronavirus vaccine.
This extremely shortened timeline was a marvel of modern medical science. The process also caused many investors to turn their eyes toward biotech penny stocks.
After all, if biotech firms can develop and roll out an important vaccine, what else are they working on? And what are the smaller-cap companies in the industry developing that could have an impact on society in the near-future?
Cancer research penny stocks, Alzheimer’s penny stocks, and general stemcell research stocks have garnered the attention of many amateur investors. With that in mind, we’ve created a biotech penny stocks list of companies worth keeping an eye on.
1. Five Prime Therapeutics ($FPRX)
Five Prime Therapeutics is a small-cap company with cash on hand. With several cancer therapies in development, it may be the best cancer research companies stock on this list.
The San Francisco-based firm has a partnership agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb on two promising tumor growth treatments. Additionally, Five Prime is working towards treatments for breast, ovarian, gastric, and endometrial cancers.
It’s important to note that, while each of this company’s treatments look promising, they are still multiple phases away from being readily available to the public. While that means this stock isn’t likely to see a meteoric rise any time soon, it does have a solid foundation that could pay dividends further down the road. Moreover, with its Bristol-Myers partnership, Five Prime should have plenty of cash to get through the trial periods for each of its medicines, making it one of the best cancer stocks to watch.
2. Abeona Therapeutics Inc. ($ABEO)
Abeona Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with several drugs in development. This is one of the best stem cell stocks to watch, given the range of drugs in its pipeline that use cell therapy to treat serious diseases.
For example, several of its drugs use AAV-based gene therapies, which are used to treat rare diseases like Sanfilippo Syndrome and others.
Earlier this year, Abeona entered into a licensing agreement with Taysha Gene Therapies to help develop further its AAV-based gene therapies. The company received $3 million as an upfront payment, but could earn almost $57 million if it meets all of its sales and regulatory goals. Not bad for a company with a market cap of just $150.75 million.
With a business like that, it would make sense that this stem cell penny stock is on many investor’s lists.
3. Cleveland BioLabs ($CBLI)
It’s been somewhat of a tumultuous ride for Cleveland BioLabs.
This New York-based biotech firm still hasn’t moved any of its drugs past Phase I trials, but there is a lot to like about what’s in Cleveland BioLabs’ pipeline.
When looking at cancer biotech stocks, this company stands out. The firm is developing certain novel approaches to activate the immune system and address several other serious medical conditions.
Its most-positive looking product is entolimod, which has been developed as a countermeasure to radiation exposure and as immunotherapy for oncology. As of this writing, the treatment is in the second Phase I study, which means patients with advanced-stage cancer are receiving the drug. If the trial is successful, this could be one of the great cancer treatment stocks on this list.
4. GT Biopharma Inc. ($GTBP)
GT Biopharma is on this pharmaceutical penny stocks list for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its focus on novel treatments for solid tumor cancers.
It’s top drug candidate is labeled GTB-3550, which is being developed for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This treatment is a tri-specific natural killer engager, otherwise known as “TriKE.” The treatment is a combination protein that bridges immune cells with tumor cells in order to stimulate robust natural killer cell activity. The treatment is now at the first-in-human phase of studies to treat leukemia.
TriKE may also have applications for treating ovarian, breast, prostate, pancreatic, and lung cancers.
This may be one of the riskier stocks on this list – a list comprised of risky stocks. So approach it with caution. While GTBP has shown a fair amount of potential, it’s also one of the stem cell research stocks that has proven the most volatile.
5. Trevena Inc. ($TRVN)
Trevena’s flagship product is OLINVYK. The drug has already been approved in the United States for those suffering from acute pain.
What may be more interesting to investors though, is what is cooking in Trevena’s pipeline. The company is currently working on several drugs that have applications in everything from lung injuries due to Covid to those suffering from acute migraines. Another important drug is Trevena’s TRV045, which could provide an alternative to opioids for people with CNS diseases.
On the financial front, the company’s recently announced earnings should top its past two quarters. Year-to-date, shares of the stock have risen more than 220 percent. It’s a big number, to be sure, but isn’t uncommon in the penny stock biotech world.
After its OLINVYK drug was approved in August of 2020, the company received a milestone payment of $3 million from one of its Chinese partners. While production of the drug hasn’t reached scale in the United States yet, manufacturing and commercialization of OLINVYK is already underway.
6. Lipocine Inc ($LPCN)
Lipocine has been a big performer already this year. At the beginning of 2020, LPCN was trading around $0.40 per share. More recently, the stock is sitting at $2.40 after the company reported a number of milestones over the year.
In late 2019, Lipocine’s stock took a big hit when its TLANDO treatment – which was designed for testosterone replacement therapy – didn’t meet the three secondary endpoints for maximal testosterone concentrations. The miss caused the stock to plummet below the $1 mark.
While the TLANDO results were a big misstep for the company, it didn’t stop developing other pipeline treatments. So, as September came to a close, the company announced the final patient enrolled in its LiFTPhase 2 clinical study. While it sounds complicated, this is a paired-biopsy study that looks at Lipocine’s LPCN 1144 drug in confirmed non-cirrhotic non-alcoholic steatohepatitis subjects. The drug can be taken orally and has shown meaningful reductions in liver fat in a past study.
Then, on December 9, the FDA finally announced tentative approval of TLANDO, its oral testosterone product that had caused so much consternation in late 2019.
All of which is to say, Lipocine has weathered its disappointments well and continues to develop promising drugs.
7. Onconova Therapeutics ($ONTX)
Onconvova Therapeutics isn’t necessarily the top performer on this list. Indeed, it’s taken its fair share of bumps this year. However, the firm has made some moves that have seen its price rise enough for investors to take notice.
At the beginning of December, started to see some heavy trading, with more than 107 million shares of ONTX stock changing hands at some points. That’s a big jump compared to its average daily trading volume of 12.98 million shares.
In general terms, Onconova was having a strong year until August. Shares of ONTX began 2020 at $0.40 before climbing to highs of $1.56 in the third quarter. But then bad data caused a massive sell-off of ONTX in August.
Founded in 1998, Onconova is focused on discovering and developing new treatments for cancer. The company has been working on a proprietary chemistry platform that could be used to create targeted anti-cancer agents which would disrupt the cellular pathways used by cancer to attack patients.
Onconova’s initial public offering (IPO) was in July 2013. The firm has a number of treatments currently in Phase I and II that could be used to treat patients with myelodysplastic syndrome or acute myeloid leukemia. But the company has several other treatments currently in its pipeline, including one that could help with the coronavirus.
8. CymaBay Therapeutics ($CBAY)
CymaBay is a California-based small cap company that focuses on therapies for those with liver and other chronic diseases. The company has millions of dollars in cash on hand which would help it weather the trial stages for the various therapies it has in its pipeline.
One of its core offerings is designed to treat the destructive autoimmune disease biliary cholangitis. Recently, an independent panel of experts unanimously found the drug to not have caused any liver injury in a Phase II study. The company says it plans to move forward and seek approval from the FDA as soon as possible.
Clinical studies for another of its offerings, MBX-2982, continue to move forward. This drug treats diabetes. Its CB-001 treatment is also showing promise for the treatment of fatty liver disease. If either of these drugs becomes fast-tracked, it could really bolster the company’s stock price.
In November, at least 10 analysts gave CBAY a “buy” rating. That followed positive news about another trial, when the company announced positive results from a Phase III study that evaluated its Seladelpar therapy for primary biliary cholangitis. The drug demonstrated anti-cholestatic, anti-inflammatory, and anti pruritic activity throughout three and six month periods.
As we all know, penny stocks are inherently volatile. They can seem to rise and fall at the whim of the market sometimes.
But there are certain industries and certain companies that have more promise than others. The biotech industry has received a lot of interest as researchers work to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. Stem cell research company stocks have received a boost, cancer research company stocks have risen, and Alzheimer’s penny stocks are gaining more attention.
That’s largely because the industry has shown such fortitude in the face of a once-in-a-century crisis.
Now, whether all of these biotech companies will be able to ride the wave to profits for investors remains to be seen, but there are certainly some interesting and compelling treatments in the works.
One thing to keep in mind, especially with biotech stocks, is that catalysts are important. There doesn’t need to be significant earnings reports to drive stocks higher or send them plummeting. In certain instances, presentations at industry conferences are enough of a catalyst to send shares moving in either direction.
At any rate, look at what the company is working on, investigate how they handle their finances, keep up to date on their earnings, and make informed decisions.
Investing in penny stocks is always a gamble. But if this year has shown us anything, it’s that the biotech industry – whether its cancer stock, diabetes stock, or stem cell research company stock – has a lot of potential for investors.