Health Care's Five Best (and Worst) Performers of 2013

Joel Anderson  |

It’s been a pretty wild year for the health care sector. Public attention was captured by the relatively disastrous rollout of Obamacare’s exchanges, and the plethora of opinions that unleashed. However, for those less concerned with public policy, it was still an eventful year for health care stocks. Outpacing the S&P 500, it was a banner year for biotech especially.

So, with a mere two days of trading left in 2013, here’s a quick look at the best (and worst) performers of 2013 in health care stocks.

The Best…

For these companies in 2013, it was the best of times...and then it got better.

Lannett Company (LCI)

Market Cap: $1.13 Billion

2013 Performance: 554.23 percent

Also featured on our Small-Cap Stars, where it was the second-best performing company for 2013.

Liberator Medical Holdings ($LBMH)

Market Cap: $218 million

2013 Performance: 485.92 percent

The only top performer not committed to making new drugs, Liberator is a direct-to-consumer supplier of medical supplies for seniors on Medicare.

Chelsea Therapeutics International (CHTP)

Market Cap: $337.27 million

2013 Performance: 465.79 percent

A solid year driven by the markets watching the process of symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension treatment Northera. A Jan. 14 meeting of the FDA panel on Northera should be big, as Chelsea’s future is tied almost entirely to the success of failure of the drug.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO)

Market Cap: $598.04 million

2013 Performance: 474.57 percent

The stock made a late-year rally based on a promising preclinical study for its Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Vaccine, giving hope that a treatment this often deadly disease is nearing the market.

Puma Biotechnology (PBYI)

Market Cap: $2.91 billion

2013 Performance: 442.51 percent

While having a strong year, most of Puma’s huge bounce came very late. On Dec. 4, Puma announced positive top-line results from Phase II clinical trials for its I-SPY 2 treatment for women with stage-2 or higher breast cancer.

The Worst…

It’s not all good news, though. Despite a sector having a runaway success of a year, some companies are really hoping they can put 2013 in their rearview mirror.

AVEO Pharmaceuticals (AVEO)

Market Cap: $86 million

2013 Performance: -79.38 percent

AVEO plunged sharply in late April/early May following news that the FDA would not be approving its advanced kidney-cancer treatment Tivopath.

Amarin Corporation (AMRN)

Market Cap: $328.02 million

2013 Performance: -76.58 percent

Amarin might be the leader in total market cap lost, shedding over a billion dollars in value since the start of the year. The company started to see trouble when an appeals court approved generic version of Omega-3 drugs that competed with its own Vascepa, which is still in development. And then things got downright ugly in mid-October when the FDA voted against recommending Vascepa for wider use, prompting Amarin to lay-off half its workforce, and then later announced Vascepa couldn’t be marketed as a drug for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Prosensa Holding (RNA)

Market Cap: $170.54 million

2013 Performance: -75.32 percent

Prosensa’s loss, which came after muscular dystrophy drug drisapersen failed to help patients walk better in its Phase III clinical trial, was a win for Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) , which makes a competing treatment. Pronsensa had its IPO in June, but clearly hasn’t had success as a publicly-traded company to this point.

Pernix Therapeutics Holdings (PTX)

Market Cap: $91.05 million

2013 Performance: -68.39 percent

Pernix started the year off with a bang, announcing the purchase of Cypress Pharmaceuticals and Hawthorn Pharmaceuticals on Jan. 2. The markets, though, clearly haven’t seen what they needed to from these transactions. Things started to turn south when former-CFO David Becker announced his resignation for personal reasons on Jan. 24.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA)

Market Cap: $1.23 billion

2013 Performance: -65.38 percent

For those who didn’t follow Ariad’s series of big swings on heavy volume, the company plunged in early October and has been an actively-traded stock with a lot of volatility ever since.


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DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:

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