#4: Sunesis Pharmaceuticals
YTD Performance: +395%
See a trend yet? Sunesis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SNSS) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on cancer drugs, particularly leukemia.
Sunesis is a good example of a niche drug company, where a biotech company focuses on a relatively small patient pool — leukemia in all its forms is discovered in “only” 50,000 people nationwide each year … compare that to say, the 36 million with high blood pressure, and it’s naturally a smaller opportunity for Sunesis. However, with a high-cost treatment that is very effective, a biotech stock like this can really cash in by dominating a small but profitable niche.
Sunesis appears to have its act together, recording a profit in its fiscal first quarter thanks to a payment from partner Millennium Pharmaceuticals, indicating that the company is indeed figuring out a way to move past development and into the actual money-making part of the biotech life cycle.