6 Liquid Small-Cap Healthcare Stocks Projected For Strong Growth

by: ZetaKap

Some investors may consider healthcare stocks at the small-cap level to have double the risk, while others view this combination as an exciting place to start a search for stocks with serious growth potential. To offset some of the risk that can accompany these types of stock, we focused on finding companies that have EPS growth rates above 25% and a stock pile of cash. When these two are well matched, a company has a source of funding to enhance growth or hold steady if the market slows. We think you will find this list of small-cap healthcare stocks worthy of more research.

The Current ratio is a liquidity ratio used to determine a company's financial health. The metric illustrates how easily a firm can pay back its short obligations all at once through current assets. A company that has a current ratio of one or less is generally a liquidity red flag. Now this doesn't mean the company will go bankrupt tomorrow, but it also doesn't bode well for the company, and may indicate that it could have an issue paying back upcoming obligations.

The Quick ratio measures a company's ability to use its cash or assets to extinguish its current liabilities immediately. Quick assets include assets that presumably can be converted to cash at close to their book values. A company with a Quick Ratio of less than 1 cannot currently pay back its current liabilities. The quick ratio is more conservative than the Current Ratio because it excludes inventory from current assets, since some companies have difficulty turning their inventory into cash. If short-term obligations need to be paid off immediately, sometimes the current ratio would overestimate a company's short-term financial strength. In general, the higher the ratio, the greater the company's liquidity (i.e., the better able to meet current obligations using liquid assets).

EPS growth (earnings per share growth) illustrates the growth of earnings per share over time. The 1-Year Expected EPS Growth Rate is an annual growth estimate, where the growth projections are made by analysts, the company or other credible sources.

We first looked for small-cap healthcare stocks. We then looked for companies that have a substantial amount of cash on hand (Current Ratio>2) (Quick Ratio>2). We then looked for businesses with projected high growth, measured by 1-year projected EPS growth above 25%.

Do you think these small-cap stocks have what it takes to grow? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

1) Nxstage Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ:NXTM)

Sector Healthcare
Industry Medical Appliances & Equipment
Market Cap $718.48M
Beta 0.88

NXTM stock chart

Key Metrics

Current Ratio 4.84
Quick Ratio 3.77
1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate 75.90%
Short Interest 12.91%

NxStage Medical, Inc., a medical device company, develops, manufactures, and markets products for the treatment of kidney failure, fluid overload, and related blood treatments and procedures. Its primary product, the NxStage System One, is a portable hemodialysis system used for home hemodialysis and a range of dialysis therapies for chronic home hemodialysis treatment, and the treatment of acute kidney failure and fluid overload. The NxStage System One comprises components, such as The NxStage Cycler, a compact portable electromechanical device; The NxStage Cartridge, a single-use integrated treatment cartridge; and premixed dialysate for hemodialysis applications. The company also sells a line of extracorporeal disposable products for use primarily for in-center dialysis treatments for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD); and needles and blood tubing sets primarily to dialysis clinics for the treatment of ESRD. NxStage Medical, Inc. markets its products primarily to dialysis clinics, nephrologists, and hospitals through distributors and sales representatives in the United States, Mexico, and Europe. The company was formerly known as QB Medical, Inc. and changed its name to NxStage Medical, Inc. NxStage Medical, Inc. founded in 1998 and its headquartered is in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

2) Cadence Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CADX)

Sector Healthcare
Industry Biotechnology
Market Cap $367.91M
Beta 1.35

CADX stock chart

Key Metrics

Current Ratio 3.74
Quick Ratio 3.58
1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate 52.30%
Short Interest 7.36%

Cadence Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, focuses on acquiring, in-licensing, developing, and commercializing proprietary product candidates principally for use in the hospital setting in the United States and Canada. It holds rights to OFIRMEV injection, a proprietary intravenous formulation of acetaminophen for the management of pain and reduction of fever in adults and children. The company in-licenses rights to OFIRMEV from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, which sells intravenous acetaminophen in Europe and other markets for the treatment of acute pain and fever under the Perfalgan brand name. Cadence Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 2004 and its headquartered is in San Diego, California.

3) Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACOR)

Sector Healthcare
Industry Biotechnology
Market Cap $935.70M
Beta 0.48

ACOR stock chart

Key Metrics

Current Ratio 3.70
Quick Ratio 3.37
1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate 90.00%
Short Interest 6.52%

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company, engages in the identification, development, and commercialization of novel therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal cord injury (SCI), and other central nervous system disorders primarily in the United States. Its marketed products include Ampyra (dalfampridine), a potassium channel blocker for improving walking in patients with MS; and Zanaflex Capsules and Zanaflex tablets (tizanidine hydrochloride), a short-acting drug for the management of spasticity. The company also markets products for the improvement of walking in adult patients with MS with walking disability under the Fampyra name internationally. Its lead research and development programs include three biologic therapeutic approaches for restoring neurologic and cardiac function, which include a Neuregulin Program for developing Glial Growth Factor 2, a molecule in the Phase I clinical trial for the treatment of heart failure; Remyelinating Antibodies Program for developing rHIgM22, an antibody in the preclinical stage for treating MS; and Chondroitinase Program, a research stage program focused on developing chontroitinase as a therapeutic to break down inhibitory factors in the scar tissue that develops as a result of an injury to the CNS. In addition, the company has in-licensed a clinical-stage program, AC105, to develop an acute treatment for neurological trauma. It has collaboration agreement with Biogen Idec International GmbH to develop and commercialize products containing aminopyridines to the treatment of MS. Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. was incorporated in 1995 and its headquartered is in Ardsley, New York.

4) Medicines Co. (NASDAQ:MDCO)

Sector Healthcare
Industry Drug Manufacturers - Other
Market Cap $1.35B
Beta 0.73

MDCO stock chart

Key Metrics

Current Ratio 5.61
Quick Ratio 5.20
1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate 40.00%
Short Interest 7.84%

The Medicines Company, a pharmaceutical company, provides various medicines to hospitals for advancing the treatment of critical care patients worldwide. The company markets Angiomax, an intravenous direct thrombin inhibitor for use as an anticoagulant in combination with aspirin in patients with unstable angina undergoing percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and for use in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention; and Cleviprex, an intravenous small molecule calcium channel blocker for the reduction of blood pressure, as well as to treat neurocritical care and cardiac surgery patients. Its products under development include Cangrelor that is in Phase III clinical trial acts as an intravenous small molecule antiplatelet agent to prevent platelet activation and aggregation; and Oritavancin, which is in Phase III clinical trial acts as an investigational intravenous antibiotic for the treatment of serious gram-positive bacterial infections, including acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections. The company's products under development also comprise MDCO-157, a pre-registration stage product for platelet inhibition in patients suffering from acute coronary syndrome (ACS), and patients experiencing myocardial infarction, stroke, or peripheral arterial disease; MDCO-2010, a small molecule serine protease inhibitor that is in Phase II clinical trial used for the reduction of blood loss during surgery; and MDCO-216, which is in Phase I clinical trial used for the reversal of atherosclerotic plaque development and the reduction of the risk of coronary events in patients with ACS. Its products also consist of Argatroban, a direct thrombin inhibitor used as anticoagulant for prophylaxis or for the treatment of thrombosis; and acute care generic products. The Medicines Company was founded in 1996 and is based in Parsippany, New Jersey.

5) Avanir Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AVNR)

Sector Healthcare
Industry Drugs - Generic
Market Cap $403.09M
Beta 1.98

AVNR stock chart

Key Metrics

Current Ratio 5.50
Quick Ratio 5.48
1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate 42.60%
Short Interest 14.91%

Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in acquiring, developing, and commercializing novel therapeutic products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders primarily in the United States. The company primarily offers NUEDEXTA, a unique proprietary combination of dextromethorphan and low-dose quinidine for the treatment of pseudobulbar affect. Its product line also comprises AVP-923 in Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of central neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis; and in Phase III trial for the treatment of patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain. In addition, the company provides Docosanol 10% cream, an over-the-counter product for cold sores treatment. Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 1988 and its headquarters is in Aliso Viejo, California.

6) QLT Inc. (QLTI)

Sector Healthcare
Industry Biotechnology
Market Cap $377.47M
Beta 1.39

QLTI stock chart

Key Metrics

Current Ratio 23.05
Quick Ratio 22.64
1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate 31.70%
Short Interest 1.54%

QLT Inc., a biotechnology company, engages in the development and commercialization of ocular products that address the unmet medical needs of patients and clinicians. It offers Visudyne that utilizes light-activated photodynamic therapy to treat the eye disease known as wet age related macular degeneration. Visudyne is also used for the treatment of subfoveal choroidal neovascularization secondary to pathologic myopia, severe near-sightedness, and presumed ocular histoplasmosis. The company's developmental stage products include Latanoprost Punctal Plug Drug Delivery System, which is in Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of glaucoma and allergic conjunctivitis; and QLT091001, which is in Phase Ib clinical trial for the treatment of leber congenital amaurosis and retinitis pigmentosa. QLT Inc. markets its products in approximately 80 countries worldwide. The company was founded in 1981 and its headquartered is in Vancouver, Canada.

Company profiles were sourced from Google Finance and Yahoo Finance. Financial data was sourced from Finviz on 08/29/2012.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Business relationship disclosure: This article was prepared for ZetaKap Media by one of our full-time analysts. We did not receive compensation for this article (other than from Seeking Alpha), and we have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.