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Marijuana Stocks Are Exploding, But These 2 Biotechs Are Better Bets Right Now

Marijuana Stocks Are Exploding, But These 2 Biotechs Are Better Bets Right Now

And each are expected to deliver massive gains in the next year.

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Pot stocks have been on a wild tear this year. 

For one example, look to Canadian marijuana cultivator and distributor Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY), which went public in June. The stock peaked last week at $300 per share, an astounding 856% jump from IPO prices. And nine days later, the stock sits at $131.

Despite this massive pull-back, Tilray’s valuation is still ridiculous and doesn’t match up with its near-term growth prospects. Given this, investors looking for growth might want to look elsewhere.

One place to look for massive growth is in the biotech sector, and these two stocks in the space in particular are expected to have bright futures and offer incredible gains. I’m talking 100%+ upside in the next twelve months. One even has exposure to the cannabis space if you’re still thinking about pot stocks.

Here’s what you need to know about these two biotechs.

Viking Therapeutics (NASDAQ: VKTX)

Viking Therapeutics (NASDAQ: VKTX) had some big clinical trial news this month that sent shares surging nearly 50%.

Viking is one of several biotech companies currently competing to put out a treatment for the liver disease nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a condition that effects 20 million patients in the U.S. and that currently has no FDA-approved treatments. The NASH space is expected to be worth upwards of $35 billion annually within the next two years, and the companies that are first to market with a treatment stand to reap massive rewards.

This drugmaker recently reported stellar mid-stage results for its VK2809 candidate, which has pushed Viking up to the top tier of companies vying to be first to market with a treatment for NASH. What sets Viking’s VK2809 apart from others’ drug candidates is that the treatment was able to drastically lower liver fat content across doses after just 12 weeks, and with no serious adverse side-effects reported during the trial.

With these results, VK2809 looks primed to become a best-in-class treatment if/when it makes it to market. 

The only hitch is that Viking is considering doing a Phase 2/3 trial in order to assess the drug on a NASH-approvable endpoint which could put it a year or more behind those in the space that are closer to coming to market.

Still, Viking should be able to nab substantial profits in the NASH space, especially if VK2809 continues to deliver such impressive results in its ongoing trials. It’s no surprise then that analysts’ average twelve-month price target for VKTX is $27.67, indicating possible upside of 55%. And just last week, Raymond James gave the stock a Buy rating and set a price target of $43 – 141% higher than Thursday’s closing price.

Intrexon (NYSE: XON)

Intrexon (NYSE: XON) broke out to a three-month high this week after announcing that it had reached “advances in production of medical cannabis.” More specifically, the company has engineered a yeast strain that could be used in a microbial fermentation process to produce cannabinoids at a lower cost.

Ever since GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH) won the first-ever of its kind FDA approval for its cannabinoid drug Epidiolex—a treatment for two rare forms of epilepsy—earlier this year, interest in treating disease with cannabinoids has skyrocketed. Intrexon believes that its microbial fermentation process will allow for the production of pure cannabinoids at a cost of less than $1,000 per kilogram, which, if a reality, could see the company rake in significant revenue as extracting medical-grade cannabinoids from cannabis plants is currently a much more costly process.

And Intrexon would be the one to do it if anyone can as the company has a solid track record for developing synthetic biology solutions to address specific problems, including developing gene therapies to treat cancer, genetic preservation and cloning technologies, and even using genetics for cattle breeding.

The average analyst price target for XON is $36, suggesting upside of 110.28% over the next twelve months. Stifel Nicolaus recently initiated coverage of the stock with a Buy rating and with a price target of $72 – 320% higher than the current price.

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