11 Biotech Bets For 2012

by: James Stocklasar Thomas Jr.

Mid-range biotechs like the ones mentioned in here are the most tempting buyout targets. They are Questcor-like (QCOR) in their forward vision to win enviable investment from the major institutions. Questcor recently exploded from around $26/share to over $42/share before the recent retrace. If Questcor dips back into the upper $20s, that would be an excellent entry point for one of the best biotechs coming out of 2011.

In addition to favorite Questcor, I highlight to investors these other hot biotech stocks for 2012.

Pharmacyclics (NASDAQ:PCYC) is absolutely on fire. Since dipping to around $9/share in August, the stock is closing in a double. Just shy of $18/share, the pps run may lose some steam but interest from big pharma may soon come their way. I'd keep a careful watch on this stock.

From the heap of low-flyers of high-risk, I say take a hard look at Keryx (NASDAQ:KERX) and Aeterna Zentaris (NASDAQ:AEZS). Opinions sharply differ over the lead drug candidate perifosine, but if it comes out a winner, but stocks are going to explode, and the fortunate investor will reap triple-digit gains.

Don't count little Zalicus (ZLCS) out. While the company's bobbing and weaving for financing and a rough 2011, pain-relievers Z160 and Z944 are running flat-out in already promising Phase 1 trials. Zalicus drugs could challenge opioids, so investors should be keen to watch the story here including Synavive come late summer.

A ray of sunshine fell over Spectrum (NASDAQ:SPPI) in Q4 2011. Spectrum is an amazing company that could very well attract a buyout by big pharma. After nearly touching $7/share in early October, the stock has been on a plus-double run. If not bought out, I could see Spectrum testing $26/share before year-end.

Keep your eye on a less known stock renamed last year to Astex (NASDAQ:ASTX). This newly merged firm is cash-flush with money and has realigened itself with an impressive drug portfolio. While highly risky below $5/share, the company has the cash assets to go a long way and I'm expecting the share price to double from around $2/share to $4/share before year-end.

If a double-digit gain tickles your fancy, then look no further than NPS (NASDAQ:NPSP). This meat-and-potatoes biotech offers investors less risk, less excitement, but growing revenues. The stock price touched around $5/share, but looks to be rebounding into a nice cup (i.e. $10/share) before year-end.

Looking up the food chain, watch TEVA (NASDAQ:TEVA) in 2012 and beyond. On the fore-front of coming biosimilars, TEVA continues to execute on its game plan to dominate pharmaceuticals. While little companies like Cel-Sci (NYSEMKT:CVM) beg for food crumbs from the TEVA table, any early rumors on Multikine's success in head and neck cancer could change the fortunes of a great many penny investors.

A final kudo goes to Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN). From greatness to glory, the stock has returned to double-digit land, and the volatility is a gift to day-traders, whether short or long. Like it or not, Dendreon forged new biotech ground, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if by year-end it surged over $30/share.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. According to SA policy, after 72 hours of publication, I am free to buy or sell any stock mentioned in this article. Investors buy and/or sell at their own risk.