15 Healthcare Stocks that Analysts Love in 2018

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There are more than 200 healthcare companies traded on public markets. Given the sheer number of pharmaceutical companies, medical research firms, hospital systems and other healthcare stocks, it can be hard to identify which healthcare companies are going to outperform the market.

Fortunately, Wall Street's brightest minds have already done this for us. Every year, analyst issue approximately 3,000 distinct recommendations for healthcare companies. Analysts don't always get their "buy" ratings right, but it's worth taking a hard look when several analysts from different brokerages and research firm are giving "strong buy" and "buy" ratings to the same healthcare stock.

This slide show lists the 15 healthcare companies that have the highest average analyst recommendations from Wall Street's equities research analysts over the last 12 months.

#1 - Nightstar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NITE)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 5 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $30.20 (129.7% Upside)

Nightstar Therapeutics logoNightstar Therapeutics PLC, formerly Nightstar Therapeutics Limited, is a clinical-stage gene therapy company. The Company is focused on developing and commercializing novel one-time treatments for patients suffering from rare inherited retinal diseases that would otherwise progress to blindness. The Company is developing a pipeline of proprietary product candidates that are designed to substantially modify or halt the progression of inherited retinal diseases. The Company’s lead product candidate, NSR-REP1, for the treatment of choroideremia, or CHM, is entering Phase III clinical development. The Company is also conducting a Phase I/II clinical trial with its second product candidate, NSR-RPGR, for the treatment of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, or XLRP. The Company’s third product candidate, NSR-BEST1, is in preclinical development for the treatment of Best vitelliform macular dystrophy, or Best disease.

#2 - OptiNose (NASDAQ:OPTN)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 4 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $29.25 (66.3% Upside)

OptiNose logoOptiNose, Inc. is a pharmaceutical company. The Company is focused on the development and commercialization of products for patients treated by ear, nose and throat, or ENT, and allergy specialists. The Company’s products candidates include XHANCE (Nasal Polyps), XHANCE (Chornic Sinusitis) OPN-300, OPN-021, and other. The Company’s lead product, XHANCE (fluticasone propionate) nasal spray, utilizes breath powered exhalation delivery system (EDS), to deliver a topically acting and potent anti-inflammatory corticosteroid for the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. XHANCE has a differentiated clinical profile with the potential to become part of the standard of care for this disease because it is able to deliver medication to the primary site of inflammation.

#3 - Menlo Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MNLO)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 4 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $46.25 (28.5% Upside)

Menlo Therapeutics logoMenlo Therapeutics Inc. is a United States-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. The Company is focused on the development of serlopitant and treatment of chronic itch and chronic refractory cough. The Company offers VPD-737 (serlopitant), a potent oral NK1 receptor antagonist for the treatment of severe, chronic pruritus associated with or without a diagnosed disease. The Company studies VPD-737 in a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study over eight weeks to assess the safety and efficacy of VPD-737 in patients with prurigo nodularis. The Company has conducted Phase II study evaluating the investigational oral NK-1 receptor antagonist VPD-737 (serlopitant) for the treatment of patients with severe, chronic itch who are unresponsive or inadequately responsive to the standard of care, including topical steroids and antihistamines.

#4 - resTORbio (NASDAQ:TORC)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 4 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $29.25 (48.9% Upside)

resTORbio logoresTORbio, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. The Company is focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for the treatment of aging-related diseases. It focuses on the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway that regulates aging, and specifically on selective inhibition of the target of rapamycin complex 1 (TORC1). Its initial focus is on the development of RTB101, an orally administered, small molecule, potent TORC1 inhibitor, alone and in combination with other mTOR inhibitors, such as everolimus. Its product pipeline includes the TORC1 program that includes the development of RTB101 for various indications. The indications include respiratory tract infections, heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, autophagy related neurodegenerative diseases and other indications. The Company is developing RTB101 in a Phase II b clinical trial.

#5 - Apellis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:APLS)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 4 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $27.00 (77.0% Upside)

Apellis Pharmaceuticals logoApellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. The Company focuses on the discovery and development of therapeutic compounds for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The Company's lead compounds are designed to inhibit complement component 3 (C3), the central protein in the complement cascade. The Company is developing APL-2 for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) by subcutaneous injection, which is an injection into the tissue under the skin. It is developing APL-2 for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) and intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by intravitreal injection, which is an injection into the eye. The Company is developing APL-1 for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by inhaled administration.

#6 - Inflarx (NASDAQ:IFRX)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 4 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $33.00 (3.2% Upside)

Inflarx logoInflarx NV, formerly Fireman BV, is a holding company for InflaRx GmbH, a Germany-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. The Company's primary focus is on the development of monoclonal antibodies targeting activation products of the complement system for application in the treatment of life-threatening inflammatory diseases. Its lead product candidate, IFX-1, is an intravenously delivered first-in-class anti-C5a monoclonal antibody, undergoing Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), a rare and chronic debilitating systemic inflammatory skin disease, and entering Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) and other rare autoimmune diseases. The Company's product pipeline also includes IFX-2, which is in preclinical development.

#7 - Quanterix (NASDAQ:QTRX)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 4 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $26.50 (15.9% Upside)

Quanterix logoQuanterix Corporation is a United States-based company, which develops tools for high definition diagnostics. The Company offers single molecule array (Simoa) platform, which uses single molecule measurements to access proteins. Simoa focuses on research and clinical testing applications. The Company focuses on research and diagnostics for brain injuries, heart disease, cancer and other diseases with its technology. The Company offers Simoa HD-1 analyzer, which creates high density arrays of approximately 40 femtoliter microwells. Its Simoa HD-1 analyzer is an automated immunoassay platform with multiplexing and custom assay capability. The Company offers Simoa consumables, which include Simoa Discs, Simoa Cuvettes, Simoa Sealing Oil, Simoa Buffers and Disposable Tips. It offers a range of complete assay kits, including multiplex panels, covering a range of therapeutic areas. Its services include Simoa Accelerator Lab and custom assay development services.

#8 - AxoGen (NASDAQ:AXGN)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 7 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $29.33 (2.4% Upside)

AxoGen logoAxoGen, Inc. provides surgical solutions for peripheral nerve injuries. The company’s surgical nerve repair solutions include Avance Nerve Graft, an off-the-shelf processed human nerve allograft for bridging severed nerves without the comorbidities associated with a second surgical site; AxoGuard Nerve Connector, a porcine submucosa extracellular matrix (ECM) coaptation aid for tensionless repair of severed nerves; and AxoGuard Nerve Protector, a porcine submucosa ECM product that is used to wrap and protect injured peripheral nerves, as well as reinforces the nerve reconstruction while preventing soft tissue attachments. Its solutions also comprise Avive Soft Tissue Membrane, a minimally processed human umbilical cord membrane that is used as a resorbable soft tissue covering to separate tissues and modulate inflammation in the surgical bed. In addition, the company offers AcroVal neurosensory and motor testing system, which consists of AcroGrip for use in hand grip strength measurement; AcroPinch for measuring pinch strength; and Pressure-Specified Sensory Device, a somatosensory evaluation and measurement device. Further, it provides AxoTouch two point discriminator, a tool that is used for measuring the innervation density of surface area of the skin. The company provides its products to hospitals, surgery centers, and military hospitals in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and other European countries, and internationally. AxoGen, Inc. is headquartered in Alachua, Florida.

#9 - Antares Pharma (NASDAQ:ATRS)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.3
Ratings Breakdown: 4 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $4.08 (85.2% Upside)

Antares Pharma logoAntares Pharma, Inc. (Antares) is a specialty pharmaceutical company that focuses on developing and commercializing self-administered parenteral pharmaceutical products and technologies. The Company develops and manufactures pressure-assisted injector devices, with and without needles, which allow patients to self-inject drugs. The Company's subcutaneous injection technology platforms include VIBEX disposable pressure-assisted auto injectors, Vision reusable needle-free injectors and disposable multi-use pen injectors. The Company operates through drug delivery segment, which includes self-administered parenteral pharmaceutical products and technologies. The Company has developed OTREXUP (methotrexate) injection, which is a single dose, disposable auto injector.

#10 - Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRNE)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 5 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $16.00 (90.5% Upside)

Sorrento Therapeutics logoSorrento Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in the discovery, acquisition, development and commercialization of drug therapeutics. Its primary therapeutic focus is oncology, including the treatment of chronic cancer pain. It is also developing therapeutic products for other indications, including immunology and infectious diseases. Its products in the pipeline include Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T Cell (CAR-T) programs, resiniferatoxin (RTX), and biosimilar/biobetter antibodies clinical development programs. Its pipeline also includes preclinical fully human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), including biosimilars/biobetters, fully human anti-PD-L1 and anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors derived from its G-MAB library platform, antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), bispecific antibodies (BsAbs), as well as CAR-T and Chimeric Antigen Receptor Natural Killer (NK) cells (CAR. NK) for adoptive cellular immunotherapy.

#11 - Neurocrine Biosciences (NASDAQ:NBIX)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 14 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $90.79 (6.3% Upside)

Neurocrine Biosciences logoNeurocrine Biosciences, Inc. is engaged in discovering and developing pharmaceuticals, in diseases with unmet medical needs, through its research and development (R&D) platform, focused on neurological and endocrine based diseases and disorders. Its three lead late-stage clinical programs are elagolix, which is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist for endometriosis and uterine fibroids; INGREZZA (valbenazine), which is a vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitor, for the treatment of movement disorders, and opicapone, which is a selective catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitor that is an adjunct therapy to preparations of levodopa/Dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) decarboxylase inhibitors for adult patients with Parkinson's disease. Its product pipeline also includes NBI-640756, which targets tremor and NBI-74788, which targets classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Its R&D focus is on addressing diseases and disorders of the central nervous and endocrine systems.

#12 - Iovance Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:IOVA)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 10 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $19.72 (6.6% Upside)

Iovance Biotherapeutics logoIovance Biotherapeutics, Inc., formerly Lion Biotechnologies, Inc., is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. The Company is focused on the development and commercialization of cancer immunotherapy products designed to harness the power of a patient's own immune system to eradicate cancer cells. The Company's lead program is an adoptive cell therapy utilizing tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, which are T cells derived from patients' tumors, for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. As of December 31, 2016, it had an on-going Phase II clinical trial of its lead product candidate, LN-144, TIL for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. The Company is developing LN-145 to treat cervical and head and neck cancers. It is collaborating with the National Cancer Institute to evaluate unmodified TIL in other solid tumor indications, such as ocular melanoma, bladder, breast and lung cancer. It is collaborating with the NCI to evaluate TIL in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor, Keytruda.

#13 - CIGNA (NYSE:CI)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 2.8
Ratings Breakdown: 12 Buy Ratings, 3 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $209.87 (9.4% Upside)

CIGNA logoCigna Corporation (Cigna), together with its subsidiaries, is a health services company. The Company offers medical, dental, disability, life and accident insurance and related products and services. The Company's segments include Global Health Care, Global Supplemental Benefits, Group Disability and Life, and Other Operations and Corporate. Its Global Health Care segment aggregates the commercial and Government operating segments. Its commercial operating segment encompasses the United States commercial and certain international healthcare businesses serving employers and their employees, other groups, and individuals. Its Global Supplemental Benefits segment offers supplemental health, life and accident insurance products in selected international markets and in the United States. Its Group Disability and Life segment provides group long-term and short-term disability insurance, group life insurance, accident and specialty insurance and related services.

#14 - UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 23 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $246.09 (8.4% Upside)

UnitedHealth Group logoUnitedHealth Group Incorporated is a health and well-being company. The Company operates through four segments: UnitedHealthcare, OptumHealth, OptumInsight and OptumRx. It conducts its operations through two business platforms: health benefits operating under UnitedHealthcare and health services operating under Optum. UnitedHealthcare provides healthcare benefits to an array of customers and markets, and includes UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, UnitedHealthcare Community & State, and UnitedHealthcare Global businesses. Optum is a health services business serving the healthcare marketplace, including payers, care providers, employers, governments, life sciences companies and consumers, through its OptumHealth, OptumInsight and OptumRx businesses. OptumInsight provides services, technology and healthcare solutions to participants in the healthcare industry. OptumRx provides retail network contracting, purchasing and clinical solutions.

#15 - pSivida (NASDAQ:PSDV)

Consensus Rating: Buy
Rating Score: 3.0
Ratings Breakdown: 7 Buy Ratings, 0 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $7.57 (594.6% Upside)

pSivida logopSivida Corp. develops drug delivery products primarily for the treatment of chronic eye diseases. The Company operates through the biotechnology sector segment. The Company has developed three products for treatment of back-of-the-eye diseases, which include Medidur for posterior segment uveitis, its lead product candidate that is in pivotal Phase III clinical trials; ILUVIEN for diabetic macular edema (DME), its lead licensed product that is sold in the United States and European Union (EU) countries, and Retisert. Medidur is designed to treat chronic non-infectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment of the eye (posterior segment uveitis). ILUVIEN is an injectable micro-insert that provides treatment of DME from a single injection. Retisert is an implant that provides treatment of posterior segment uveitis. Its product development program is focused on utilizing its two technology platforms, Durasert and Tethadur, to deliver drugs and biologics to treat chronic diseases.







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