BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- If there's one industry that traders like to target, it's the pharmaceutical indsutry. After all, pharma plays can make huge intraday profits on fast-moving FDA news, rumors and even speculation. And pharmaceutical companies have largely been immune to the health care reform uproar on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill -- because no matter how we pay for the next breakthrough drugs, the companies that develop them will continue to collect significant revenues.
$3.1 billion pharmaceutical firm Valeant Pharmaceuticals ( VRX) has been one of 2010's strongest-performing stocks, up nearly 21% year-to-date. But that strong showing on Wall Street hasn't stopped short-sellers from swooping in. Valeant currently sports a short interest ratio of 11.43, which suggests it would take more than two weeks of normal trading for short sellers to cover their positions.
While not a pharmaceutical developer, medical supply company West Pharmaceutical Services ( WST) has a business that's deeply entrenched in the pharma industry. West supplies drug developers and medical firms with the packaging and drug delivery systems that help them to reach consumers safely. The stock meets our high-short requirement too, with a short ratio of 18.
Theravance ( THRX) is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing commercial drug therapies. The company's shorts -- and short ratio of 14.65 -- have done a good job of holding share prices down in 2010 at the heels of some FDA-induced speed bumps in the approval of one of the most promising drugs in the company's pipeline.
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