The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) - Get Report is down 13% thus far in 2016, but investors should not throw in the towel on biotech stars Amgen (AMGN) - Get Report , Gilead (GILD) - Get Report , Bluebird Bio (BLUE) - Get Report and Bellicum (BLCM) - Get Report , said Brad Loncar, CEO of Loncar Investments.
Shares of Amgen are up 5.4% thus far in 2016, but fell this week after its Phase III Clarion trial failed to meet its primary endpoint. The trial was testing Amgen's Kyprolis, a drug used to treat patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of plasma cells. The drug didn't slow the regrowth of tumors better than rival cancer drug Velcade in combination with chemotherapy.
"Everyone is waiting for Amgen to do a deal with the $35 billion in cash they have on hand," said Loncar. "And the Kyprolis trial failure stings, but not too much because it has been approved in other patient subsets already."
Gilead shares have dropped 20% so far in 2016. The stock was hit this week after Leerink reduced its rating on the stock to market perform from outperform. The firm lowered its price target to $94 from $112 on shares of the company, saying it is "outright bearish" on its Hepatitis C treatments.
"Gilead's Hepatitis C business has matured, but the stock is still cheap," said Loncar. "And they have a war chest of $30 billion to do a transformative deal as well."
Bluebird Bio shares are up a healthy 16% year-to-date, but have soared 43% in the past month as the immunotherapy specialist is rumored to be a target for Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical (TKPYY) . Loncar said Bluebird has been "laying low" this year and will soon unveil a slew of data at the upcoming American Society of Hematology conference.
Similarly, Loncar expects Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, another immunotherapy outfit, to have a lot to say at the ASH Conference. Bellicum has seen its shares recover to $20 from less than $8 this past March.