A Bio-Pharma Watch List For This Week: 4 Buys, 1 Sell

by: StockMatusow

After the end of the trading session Tuesday, I scanned for some bio-pharma stocks I felt could provide some nice up-side gains this week. Below, I will list the stocks I found that could be buys this week, with one of the stocks being a sell.

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SPPI) 2/21/12 pps: 12.93

Spectrum's stock price took a substantial hit in its last trading session, down 4.93%. Many investors do not seem to like Spectrum's business model of finding drugs currently in development by small pharmas, specifically cancer treatments that Spectrum can buy for bargain prices. I am not one of those investors, as I feel Spectrum has much better value than many bio-pharmas, with less impact to its bottom line.

The Spectrum business philosophy was brought to the company by the current CEO Rajesh Shrotriya, and goes back to his years at Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY). Most of BMY's cancer drugs were acquired with the same business philosophy that Shrotriya is currently implementing at Spectrum.

As a side note, also look for a move upwards in BMY's pps this week as its chart is showing an oversold condition. BMY is one of the best dividend paying stocks in the market, making my best dividend paying stock list. I recommend putting BMY on your watch list for this week and for the long term.

Spectrum's 2 FDA approved and currently marketed drugs are doing well. Zevalin sales appear to be improving along with Fusilev also having strong sales. The current drop in pps is quite attractive in my opinion, and should provide a satisfying entry point for aggressive investors to take advantage of. Longer term investors might want to take a serious look at Spectrum, as the pps might see a year end price near $20 a share. I strongly feel Spectrum has a real shot to be a mega-pharma, and might see stock prices well north of $50 a share in 3 years.

My rating on Spectrum: Strong Buy
My rating on Bristol Myers: Strong Buy

Antares Pharma (AIS) 2/21/12 pps: $2.63

Antares saw its pps decline last week to a low of $2.45 a share, but the shares rebounded on Friday of last week to close at $2.58. The Antares 10k earnings report is due out March 12th, and it is anticipated by those who closely follow the company, including myself, that Antares will have its first profitable quarter ever which I estimate will be $0.01 - $0.02.

This is a good sign for the current management led by Dr. Paul Wotton who took the company over from prior management a little over 3 years ago. Antares has been growing at an average rate of 40% a year, and should continue this growth rate, if not at a substantially higher rate. Longer term investors are beginning to take notice of Antares and its large potential for massive gains in the next 5 years. Products in development such as VIBEX MTX and NestraGel are sure to drive the pps of Antares well north of $10 in a couple of years.

I genuinely like the management of this company: smart, conservative, and understanding how to reinvest capital in order to reach their long term goal to be a top line company. Antares should be part of a patient, long term investor's portfolio. I am expecting Antares to make a move this week to $2.75 a share.

My rating on Antares: Strong Buy

Idenix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IDIX) engages in the discovery and development of drugs for the treatment of human viral diseases in the United States and Europe. Its primary research and development focus is on the treatment of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) spent $10.8 billion last year for Pharmasset with their Hepatitis C drug, PSI-7977.

On Feb.17th, 2012, Gilead's shares dropped the most in 11 years after some patients on the drug relapsed after stopping therapy. Gilead is in a real pickle here after taking a tremendous gamble buying out Pharmasset for this drug. Gilead's shares closed the day on 2/21/12 down 4.91% at $44.69. Gilead likely has more price depreciation left before consolidating.

Because of Gilead's issue with its HCV drug, Idenix might now be in an extremely advantageous position to lead the way with their HCV drug in later stage clinical.

IDX184 is Idenix's lead product candidate for the treatment of HCV. It is a once-daily, oral HCV nucleotide polymerase inhibitor based on Idenix's liver-targeting technology. The company claims this technology enables the formation of high levels of nucleoside triphosphate, the active form of the drug, in the liver potentially maximizing drug efficacy and limit systemic side effects with low, once-daily dosing.

In July 2011, the company initiated enrollment of treatment-naïve genotype 1 HCV-infected patients into a randomized, double-blind, parallel group phase IIb clinical trial of IDX184. So far, there has been no reported complications as Gilead faced with their HCV drug. In my opinion, Idenix is a better risk play for investors who target speculative bio-pharmas. I look for the shares to be slowly accumulated this week, and for a solid $0.50 move up by week's end.

My rating on Gilead: Medium Sell
My rating on Idenix: Medium Buy

I will revisit these picks in 2 to 3 weeks to see how they are doing.

Disclosure: I am long AIS.