IBD Announces First Annual Biotech Innovator Awards

Biogen, Celgene, Incyte, Kite Pharma, Loxo Oncology, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals recognized for outstanding contributions to science and patient health

Companies driving advancements to cure diseases including cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and MS

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 16, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), a leading financial news and research organization, today announced the results of its inaugural IBD Biotech Innovator Awards. Winners for 2017 are: Biogen, Celgene, Incyte, Kite Pharma, Loxo Oncology, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. These companies were selected based on groundbreaking treatments they recently introduced to the market or that are well along the way in their respective new-product pipelines. Their sights are firmly on curing diseases such as cancer, ALS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and MS.

“Amazing things are happening in biotech. We’re seeing innovation grow at an unprecedented rate, which inspires hope for successfully preventing and treating even the most debilitating diseases,” said Susan Warfel, Managing Editor of IBD. “The biotech industry has now come into its own, and many stocks are yielding superior returns for investors. We believe this is the right time to highlight both the progress being made in biotech as well as a burgeoning opportunity for investors. Congratulations to each of our winners on their incredible contributions to both science and patient health.”

IBD selected its winners by asking equity analysts, ETF and mutual fund managers, and university professors to identify the top biotech companies based on their innovative research. Respondents were asked to focus on companies with pioneering drugs likely to launch in the next several years and reach blockbuster, or near-blockbuster, sales of $1 billion or more a year. Only companies with U.S.-traded shares were considered. The award winners selected by IBD editors are the six most-cited companies:

  • Biogen: Drives innovation in neuroscience using biomarkers, biological mechanisms and other cutting-edge technologies to develop therapies to fight some of the toughest-to-treat diseases, including MS, ALS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. It already has built the leading portfolio of treatments for multiple sclerosis, with innovative drugs such as Tecfidera. It has also pioneered a groundbreaking drug in Spinraza, the only approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, which is the leading genetic cause of death in infants. Additionally, Biogen is developing a drug called Aducanumab, which if proved to work, would be the first therapy to show a disease-modifying effect in Alzheimer's patients. 
  • Celgene: Innovates as a leading player in blood cancer treatment. It has become a biotech juggernaut thanks largely to Revlimid, which has proved to be key in fighting the tricky disease multiple myeloma. This immune-modulating drug helps immune cells attack cancer cells and starve myeloma cells in bone marrow by preventing new blood vessels from forming. The drug might also become a big weapon against lymphoma. Drugs battling diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis also are on Celgene's potential hit list.
  • Incyte: Develops immunotherapies to bolster cancer survival rates. In the coming decade, analysts say Incyte will be among those leading the efforts to bring new immunotherapies to market with its still-experimental drug Epacadostat, which works in combination with other medications. Epacadostat was designed to target and block an enzyme known as IDO1 on and near cancerous cells to enable a patient's immune system to attack and reduce tumors. Analysts say this process is safer than chemotherapy and other treatments because it involves the human body fighting diseases naturally. Incyte also has experienced tremendous success with its flagship cancer-fighting drug, Jakafi.
  • Kite Pharma: Changes the game on the manufacturing process for a cutting-edge treatment approach and stands out for its shorter turnaround time to treatment and success rate. Its technology is well sought after, as Kite was acquired by Gilead Sciences earlier this month for $11.9 billion. Kite is edging closer to approval for a cancer treatment that rebuilds a patient's own cells. Its technology could benefit thousands of people and pave the way for blockbuster drugs. The approach, called CAR-T therapy, uses bioengineering to retrain a patient's infection-fighting white blood cells to seek out and destroy cancer cells. Its flagship drug — Axi-Cel, short for Axicabtagene Ciloleucel — is designed to fight an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer affecting the immune system that is the sixth most common cancer in the U.S. Kite is expected to get drug approval this year.
  • Loxo Oncology: Focuses on developing highly selective "precision medicine" for patients with genetically defined cancers. Rather than looking to attack a specific cancer, Loxo uses increasingly popular gene sequencing to identify patients hosting a specific gene mutation resulting in a tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusion. These are abnormal proteins that tell tumor cells to grow. Using Loxo's novel compound that inhibits TRK fusion activity, Loxo's clinical trial therapy demonstrated improvements in patients with 17 different types of cancer. Its lead drug, Larotrectinib, is gaining attention in research clinics and on Wall Street as it could become the first drug initially approved by the FDA to target mutant proteins in many cancers rather than targeting a cancer itself.
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals: Gains recognition for its drug Eylea, which treats a disease called wet-eye age-related macular degeneration, the major cause of blindness in the elderly. But Regeneron’s future may be found in the development of a family of antibody drugs, some that can be used to treat a number of common diseases and thus address multibillion-dollar markets. Its newest approved drug, Dupixent, is being sold to treat atopic dermatitis in the U.S. after gaining FDA approval in March, but it has the potential to address conditions such as asthma, nasal polyps, multiple allergies (including peanut allergies), esophageal inflammation and more. Regeneron also earns marks as the purest scientific company in the biotech industry, and its spending on R&D is virtually unmatched, creating a lot of possibilities for the future.

The six companies are just a few of the players in a huge field closely tracked by investors. IBD counts 453 publicly traded companies in its biotech industry group, which doesn't include the many other companies with biotech operations that aren't their main focus. These biotech companies have a combined market cap of nearly $900 billion and sales of more than $100 billion over the most recent 12 months.

To find complete profiles of all the award winners and details of their work, please see IBD’s Biotech Innovators special report at investors.com/biotechinnovators.

IBD has partnered exclusively with PARS International to manage use of the Biotech Innovator Awards artwork and accolades for 2017. Visit ibdreprints.com to explore options and submit a quote request or call 212.221.9595, x121.

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For Editorial Contact:
Marisa Lam
GMK Communications for IBD