If you’re looking for the top healthcare stocks to buy for the long haul, then you need to be focusing on the oncology and cancer-fighting space. The pace of innovation in the oncology sector has been truly breathtaking. Just a few years ago, many forms of cancer went untreated. However, that’s not the case at all today. And new therapies are being developed all the time, making some drug stocks great investments now.
For example, two different studies in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) from Rice University show the depth of new treatments. This includes targeting mitochondria as well as using gold to destroy cancer cells. With innovative approaches like those at Rice University, we’re starting to win the fight against cancer.
That also makes cancer-fighting firms the stocks to buy today, since all of that innovation costs a pretty penny — with new cancer drugs being some of the most expensive on the market.
With that in mind, the various drug stocks have either seen their products rise to blockbuster status or have the potential for future high earnings. The best part is that many of these drugs lie just beyond the reach of regulators’ saber-rattling.
For investors, this is another perk that makes cancer-fighting stocks truly some of the best stocks to buy for the long haul. There’s plenty of potential to keep the growth and cash flows going.
But which stocks in particular stand out in the oncology space? Here are three of the best drug stocks to buy today as these companies continue in the war against cancer.
Drug Stocks to Buy: Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)
If you’re looking for a “sure thing” among the cancer stocks to buy, pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) could be an amazing choice. BMY has had a long history of blockbuster drugs powering its profits and dividends. And now oncology is driving that train, with blockbuster drug Opdivo leading the way.
Sales for Opdivo continue to be swift. Last quarter alone, BMY managed to see a big 12% year-over-year increase in sales of the oncology medicine. Right now, Bristol-Myers pulls in nearly $2 billion in quarterly revenues from the drug alone. Even better is that the pharma continues to study how Opdivo can be used in other indications such as in esophageal cancer. This could lead to other revenue opportunities for the blockbuster.
But the real reason why BMY could be a top cancer stock to buy comes down to its pending buyout of Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG). CELG comes with a rich cancer-fighting portfolio, including blockbusters Revlimid, Yervoy and Pomalyst. Adding these to BMY’s umbrella creates a real powerhouse in the space. And when you combine both firms’ pipelines of new drugs, you really are looking at one of the biggest cancer-fighting stocks on the planet.
Meanwhile, BMY’s portfolio of non-cancer drugs continues to churn out steady revenue as well. With nearly $30 billion in cash on its balance sheet and a hefty 3.24% dividend, Bristol-Meyers could be one of the best-proven winners in the oncology sector.
Exact Sciences (EXAS)
In order to treat cancer, you need to detect it. And the earlier you can do that, the greater the chances of survival increase and the ability to fight it is easier. This is why Exact Sciences (NASDAQ:EXAS) could be a great pick for investors that are interested in promising drug stocks to buy.
Ask anyone who has ever undergone a colonoscopy about their experience and there’s a good chance they’ll mention it was miserable. Because of this, colorectal cancer often goes untreated until it’s too late. This makes the cancer variety the second-deadliest cancer in America. However, this is where EXAS comes in.
The firm makes a diagnostic test called Cologuard, which patients can do at home via a small sample. Detection rates are nearly as good as an old-fashioned colonoscopy. This makes it a big win for both doctors and patients. And Exact Sciences has the sales growth to prove it. During its last reported quarter, EXAS managed to generate $200 million in sales from Cologuard. That was a 94% year-over-year increase in sales and a 93% jump in total test volumes.
The real win is that huge jump doesn’t cover the total addressable market for colorectal cancer detection nor does it include recent Food and Drug Administration wins to allow EXAS to sell Cologuard to younger age brackets.
Perhaps the biggest news for EXAS could be its pending merger with rival Genomic Health (NASDAQ:GHDX). GHDX provides similar tests for the detection of breast and prostate cancer. The deal would unite two fast-growing firms under one banner.
For investors, that could be the ultimate win in the fight against cancer and that makes EXAS one of the top stocks to buy in the space.
Bluebird Bio (BLUE)
On the surface, biotech Bluebird Bio (NASDAQ:BLUE) doesn’t seem like a cancer-fighting stock. The firm is a gene-editing player whose first commercial drug — Zynteglo — is used in the treatment of rare blood disease, transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia (TDT). Additionally, BLUE counts sickle cell and adrenoleukodystrophy treatments among its pipeline.
But BLUE could be one of the more promising clinical-stage cancer-fighting stocks to buy. And that comes down to CAR-T. Chimeric antigen receptor T therapies use patients’ own immune cells to go and attack their cancer. It’s all cutting-edge stuff and Bluebird is one of the leaders. BLUE touts development deals with both Celgene and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) to use CAR-T to target multiple myeloma.
So far, over the last two years, the results have been pretty impressive for lesser mentioned drug stock. Phase III trial data for its lead cancer candidate bb2121 should be released soon and BLUE and CELG estimate that approval for the medication could come in 2020. The approval should propel Bluebird to the upper echelon of drug stocks to buy. Yet, the stock has traded lower on commercial development issues related to Zynteglo.
However, with more than $1.5 billion in cash, a huge potential cancer-fighting win and an overall rich pipeline, BLUE stock could be a great stock to buy for investors who are OK with taking a risk.
At the time of writing, Aaron Levitt held a long position in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) -which holds CELG, REGN and BLUE.