NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investors are most excited about Bluebird Bio(BLUE) - Get Report and Pacira Pharmaceuticals(PCRX) - Get Report, according to Wedbush Securities, which is holding its annual health care investment conference in New York.
"Bluebird is an [initial public offering] from a few years ago and this company has had a really good run and completed a few offerings to keep ownership of their products in house," said Scott Smith, director of life sciences investment banking at Wedbush. "They've also had very good trial results, along with cutting-edge science. The company is in its early stage but looks very promising."
Shares are up a staggering 440% since the gene therapy company's 2013 debut on the Nasdaq.
Pacira Pharmaceuticals is also seeing heavy investor interest. "Pacira is in what I would call the specialty pharmacy space," Smith added. "They've really executed on the launch of their key product, Exparel," which is a local analgesic.
He said the company has a fairly robust market capitalization of $2.3 billion. Shares fell 29% since the start of the year.
Meanwhile, a flurry of mergers and acquisitions has been taking over the life sciences space.
During first quarter, the pharmaceuticals and life sciences industry saw 35 deals totaling $166.3 billion in value, up from $150.1 billion and 161 deals throughout all of 2014, according to PwC data. In just the past three months Celgene(CELG) - Get Reportagreed to acquireReceptos (RCPT) for $7.2 billion; Alexion(ALXN) - Get Report agreed to purchase Synageva (GEVA) for $8.4 billion and Teva Pharmaceuticals(TEVA) - Get Report acquired Auspex (ASPX) for $3.5 billion.
"I expect M&A activity in the space to continue," Smith said. "If you look at big pharma, they continue to have trouble innovating and much of the innovation has been offloaded to life science companies and startups, so you have a robust IPO market."
Digging deeper within the space, he said the medical technologies sector had low valuations. "But valuations hasn't really been a topic in the space lately," he said. "The conversation has largely been about the science and execution of these companies."