3 Top-Tier Biotech Companies That Invite A Strong Buy

Includes: AEZS, ANIP, ATRS
by: James Stocklasar Thomas Jr.

If you knew the three top-tier micro-cap biotech stocks, wouldn't you sit up and notice? I know I would. It's a 'dog-eat-dog' world and micro-cap biotech stocks can make you stand up and cheer, or they can make your blood boil! The mighty rise! And the not-so-mighty fall! That is a chilling truth. Your posting board friends may someday walk all over your grave. Only a slim margin will ever understand.

Trading micro-cap biotechs often gets a bad rap, especially so-called ‘speculative’ biotechs. Nightly television programs won't even cover these stocks. But is that rap justifiable? In my opinion, the answer is ‘No’ especially if you are disciplined, well enough to limit your portfolio to an exclusive list of the prestigious top tier. That is the key: Focus on the top-tier and leave the rest to bag-holders. No guts no glory!

Which is why I continue to maintain that the only way to invest in micro-cap biotechs is to focus on the crème de la crème. Which yes, also includes cutting them loose when they fall below the high bar of exclusivity. Don't be afraid to turn 180 degrees against an old favorite if it fails to meet market and your personal expectations.

I am well-known for kicking Zalicus (ZLCS) out the door and I don't regret my decision. I refused to get slaughtered like a pig. Which is why I state: Be brutal. Be calculated. Be cold. Be unrelenting. Stick to your guns. Apologize to no one. It's your money! Spend hours in due-diligence. Bag-holders are born every day!

If you're an individual investor like I am, then swallow hard and accept the truth: No one, absolutely no one, is looking out for you, except you! Selling at a loss is not a sign of defeat, not if the next stock you're led to explodes into exponential glory.

Looking at my top three biotechs under $3/share, I discovered that in the present topsy-turvy market, traders in my top three picks (BioSante (BPAX), Antares (AIS), and AEterna Zentaris (NASDAQ:AEZS)) have had an opportunity to earn anywhere from a modest 5% return to an impressive 14% return if they bought from the time my August Seeking Alpha articles on each stock were published until Friday’s close, 16 September 2011.

Note: I use my publish dates as a time-frame for this article. Obviously, actual entry or exit points will vary with each individual investor who bought, holds, sells, or who has re-purchased and sold ad-infinitum.

For example, I published as my crème de la crème: BioSante ($2.65/share) and Antares ($2.20/share) on 15 August 2011; and AEterna Zentaris ($1.77/share) on 22 August 2011. As of Friday’s close, 16 September 2011, BioSante would have earned 3% ($2.74/share); Antares 6% ($2.52/share); and AEterna Zentaris 6% ($1.88/share), or a modest 5% average return equally weighted in a highly volatile market.

Note: Percentages rounded.

But if investors were savvy, at their highs during the same period (listed above), BioSante investors could have garnished 10% ($2.93/share high on 9 September 2011); Antares 13% ($2.52/share high on 31 August 2011); and AEterna Zentaris 18% ($2.15/share high on 30 August 2011), or an impressive 14% average return equally weighted in the same highly volatile market.

I find it particularly interesting that AEterna, perhaps the most risky of three, also offered the highest potential return—that gives me long pause as I contemplate my own trading strategy. It popped 18% and congratulations to anyone who caught the spike. There are bashers who want to beat up AEterna, but I'm in league with its science. AEterna isn't pumping. AEterna is delivering what investors need to see: Data.

Of course, buying low and selling high is nearly impossible, but mid-range between 5% to 14%, investors had the opportunity in these crème de la crème stocks to earn 9-10% in the midst of a global crisis. Now I realize not everyone wants to buy and sell, as some like to buy and hold, but my point here is how my crème de la crème picks performed over the last month which I think adds validation to their short-term and long-term value (depending on how you prefer to trade).

As a private investor I dare say a 5% to 14% return is probably far better than what most firms earned their investors in the same period, or those who fled the micro-cap biotech market altogether. Of course readers may want to debate their own crème de la crème, but I have made mine known—and, it is always subject to change based on variables such as market conditions, technical patterns, and/or company performance.

I do not marry stocks; I buy and sell stocks based on targets I have set to achieve my own personal goals. Those targets determine my time frame for holding which includes selling at a gain or at a loss. Obviously, each investor has his/her own investment strategy.

In my opinion, Antares, BioSante, and AEterna Zentaris invite a strong buy as crème de la crème stocks. Of the three, I conclude Antares represents the lowest risk as it is already generating increasing revenue and Anturol's approval is before the FDA come late November-early December.

In my estimation, Antares is the most under-rated micro-cap biotech stock I have discovered in four years of due-diligence; just read Antares's revenue-stream quarter to quarter; this company is building rock solid value.

Still, investors also follow LibiGel's advancement throughout the present and coming quarters to the benefit of both Antares and BioSante. Likewise, as a drug oncology firm, I like the direction of AEterna Zentaris including its integral connection to Keryx (NASDAQ:KERX); and quite frankly, AEterna has much more to offer than YM Biosciences (YMI) which until recently enjoyed an over-inflated share price; AEterna investors have my admiration.

Disclosure: I am long AIS.

Disclaimer: Seeking Alpha requires me to declare what stocks I hold at the time of publication. Currently, I hold shares in AIS. I do not employ the terms "LONG" or "SHORT" because I trade based on price targets: at a gain or loss. I am yet to "short" any stock, and "long" simply means I hold the stock at the time of writing. Thus, I hold AIS shares right now, but after 72 hours from the time of publication by SA, I am free to sell AIS.