NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investing in the biotech sector this past year has been akin to playing all-in blackjack with the FDA as dealer. The right card from the drug-approval administration and the chip stack could double or triple for a small-cap biotech firm. But one disappointing Phase II or Phase III study, and investors all go bust.
After this month's major sell-off, investors now say they are tired of gambling on small-cap biotech. iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology Index ETF (IBB) is down 13% in the past 30 days.
That has cashtaggers on StockTwits.com looking to play with the weakened big boys: companies with market caps of over $2 billion with approved, revenue-producing drugs and, ideally, a pipeline of products.
The potential payouts might not be as big. But the risk of losing everything is much lower. Here are three tickers that have StockTwits users talking.
#1. Pharmacyclics (PCYC - Get Report) The top trending ticker on StockTwits.com at the open Monday, Pharmacyclics has $7.53 billion market cap and an approved cancer drug. Its Imbruvica medication is used to treat leukemia patients and also people suffering from a rare blood cancer known as mantle cell lymphoma. The drug inhibits enzymes needed by tumors to spread and is being tested for efficacy against other types of cancers. Last year, Pharmacyclics posted a $117 million profit, excluding some items, on $260.2 million in sales. It trades at nearly 29 times trailing 12-month sales. Cashtaggers say that's impressive, given the number of biotech firms worth billions on the possibility that their drug will be approved and someday see real sales. Sentiment on the stock is 88% bullish, according to StockTwits' analytics. Analysts have a generally favorable opinion of the company. The stock has eight buy recommendations, four holds and zero sell ratings, according to the Analyst Ratings Network. Morgan Stanley initiated coverage last Wednesday, with an Equal Weight rating and a $120 price target. The stock currently trades at $100. The consensus price target is $156.25, according to ARN.