8 Biotechnology Stocks Trading Higher Despite Market Volatility

by: Brian Nichols

During the last three months the NASDAQ has traded with a 7.40% loss. The index is still positive for 2012, but has been particularly volatile over the last year. For the most part it has been difficult to buy a stock and hold, because the increased volatility has created a market where investors have to be particularly opportunistic in order to capitalize on large gains whenever present.

Over the last year biotechnology has produced market leading gains. The industry as a whole has been nothing special, but has produced individual stocks which return 100%, 200%, and even 300% gains. It is gains such as these which make the biotechnology industry so appealing, and lead investors down the road of always searching for a company that could trade with momentum as a result of an innovating drug or treatment with great promise. In this article I am looking at eight stocks in biotechnology that have traded higher as of late. I am not saying whether or not I believe the trends will continue, but rather acknowledging the performance so that you the investor can determine whether or not it is presenting opportunity.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals (QCOR) is creating new highs on a daily basis with its gains of 30% over the last month, compared to the NASDAQ's flat return during the same period. The stock began to trade higher at the beginning of June, after reporting that its drug Acthar was continuing to grow and released a strategic plan for future growth. Acthar is a drug with great potential that investors believe will treat a number of conditions, therefore presenting significant long-term growth potential.

Amarin Corporation (NASDAQ:AMRN) traded higher by 3.32% on Monday, therefore making its gain 24% since June 4. The company hasn't announced anything to explain this rally, but some believe the stock is preparing for "another run" over $18, and possibly over $20, as its lead candidate AMR101 chances for approval are quite high.

Pharmacyclics (NASDAQ:PCYC) is a stock creating 52-week highs on a daily basis, thanks to its one-month return of 57%. The $3.5 billion company has been on a tear in 2012, with a YTD gain of 250%. The company's pipeline of small-molecule drugs are creating quite a buzz, and thanks to heavy insider buying the stock has performed nicely for anyone who has ever purchased shares in this company.

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SPPI) has climbed 30% over the last eight trading days, and is now flat YTD. The stock's breakout has occurred after encouraging clinical data and a solid forecast for its drug Fusilev. The stock is still $1.30 off its high but is trading with significant buying pressure after five months of being unable to establish any momentum.

Horizon Pharma (NASDAQ:HZNP) climbed 18% on Monday, making its one-month gain 54%. The stock began trading higher following an agreement with Covidien (COV) to co-promote its drug DUEXIS. The promotion of the drug was a major concern for investors, but with this partnership, investors have been buying shares with authority.

Synta Pharmaceuticals (SNTA) has nearly doubled over the last month with a gain of 83%. The stock's rally has been a result of optimism surrounding its lead cancer drug ganetespib, as investors expect strong clinical results. The rally has also been a result of several upgrades over the last month, helping to push the stock to new 52-week highs.

CytRx Corporation (NASDAQ:CYTR) has traded higher by 50% over the last month, adding to its 164% YTD gain. The stock's gains have been led by strong insider buying, and also an addition to a Russell index fund. Investors have also been excited about its non-small-cell lung cancer treatment, and on Monday the company announced encouraging data from its Phase 2b trial.

Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER) traded flat on Monday but is still trading with a one-month gain of 32%. The stock created a new all-time high on Monday before finishing the day flat, and has returned YTD gains of 235%. The large gains have been a result of increased patents and encouraging data for its late-stage trials. However, the stock's recent gains are most likely due to its inclusion in the Russell index funds seeing as how the stock has rallied since its addition was made public.

Disclosure: I am long SPPI, QCOR.

Additional disclosure: The material in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used to make any investment decisions.