Canada’s biotech sector is home to companies pursuing cutting-edge therapies and medical technologies.
Looking ahead into 2024, some market participants expect to see more investor interest in biotech as a variety of trends take hold — those include a greater focus on personalized medicine, cancer immunotherapies and more.
Both TSX and TSXV stocks were considered, but no TSXV companies made the list this time.
1. Antibe Therapeutics (TSX:ATE)
Year-on-year gain: 41.79 percent; market cap: C$53.69 million; share price: C$0.95
Antibe Therapeutics is focused on developing treatments for chronic pain and inflammation. Its flagship product, otenaproxesul, is an alternative to opioids and has proven to be gentler on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract than other non-addictive, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which have been shown to cause ulcers and GI bleeding after long use.
Antibe’s first clinical study on a new formulation of otenaproxesul concluded in November 2023. The company plans to expedite the drug development process by conducting a Phase II post-operative trial on patients recovering from surgical bunionectomies (removal of a bunion), after which it will meet with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lay the groundwork for a Phase III trial. Antibe has not yet released dates for these trials.
Another drug in Antibe’s pipeline is a non-addictive analgesic derived from ketoprofen. The company is also currently researching a therapeutic solution for inflammatory bowel disease.
2. Cardiol Therapeutics (TSX:CRDL)
Year-on-year gain: 40.2 percent; market cap: C$91.81 million; share price: C$1.43
Cardiol Therapeutics is a biopharma company that is developing innovative treatments for inflammation and fibrosis in cardiovascular conditions. Its research efforts are concentrated in three key areas: pericarditis, which is inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart; myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle; and heart failure.
Cardiol is currently developing two therapies. Its lead candidate, CardiolRX, is geared at treating rare heart diseases. The company announced in early January that it has exceeded 50 percent of the enrollments required to proceed with Phase II ARCHER trials of CardiolRX for the treatment of acute myocarditis.
CRD-38, a drug formulation of cannabidiol, is currently being researched by the company for its efficacy in treating heart conditions subcutaneously.
3. Knight Therapeutics (TSX:GUD)
Knight Therapeutics is a specialty pharmaceutical company that is involved in the licensing, marketing and commercialization of drugs in Latin America, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
In December 2023, the company entered into a licensing agreement with Supernus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SUPN) to bring ADHD therapy Qelbree to Canada. The drug was approved by the FDA in 2021 and is currently undergoing additional Phase IV trials, with more set to commence in 2024. In a statement announcing the partnership, Knight CEO Samira Sakhia expressed her desire to see the drug approved and made available to Canadians dealing with ADHD.
More recently, Knight announced the launch of IMVEXXY, a treatment option for dyspareunia in postmenopausal women.
Securities Disclosure: I, Meagen Seatter, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.