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2 exciting biotech shares to watch in 2018

Credit: US Army RDECOM

Just over 14 years ago the CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price was trading in or around the $12.00 mark. Fast-forward to today and the biotech giant’s shares are 1,100% higher and fetching $144.35 apiece.

While CSL’s success could be a once in a decade event, I do believe it demonstrates just how rewarding an investment in the industry can be.

Two fledgling biotech companies which I think investors ought to keep an eye on are listed below:

Actinogen Medical Ltd (ASX: ACW)

This clinical-stage biotechnology company’s lead candidate is its Alzheimer’s disease drug Xanamem. The drug has shown enormous promise thus far and was enough to attract pioneering drug developer and former Amgen executive, Dr George Morstyn, to join the board as a non-executive director recently. He believes the drug’s approach to treating the disease by lowering cortisol levels in the brain is “refreshingly different”.

According to the company, in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, the drug was effective in improving cognitive function and clearing amyloid plaques from the brain. The improved cognitive function was observed after only 4 weeks of treatment, and was maintained for at least 41 weeks. Management believes that if Xanamem can be as effective in humans, it has the potential to be one of the most meaningful breakthroughs for treating Alzheimer’s disease in decades.

Bionomics Ltd (ASX: BNO)

Bionomics is another company in which Dr George Morstyn is a board member. While the company has a number of promising drugs in its pipeline, the one that I am most excited about is its BNC210 anxiety drug.

Phase 2 trials of BNC210 have not only met their two primary endpoints and outperformed the current standard of care Lorazepam, they showed no signs of sedation, memory impairment, addiction, or loss of motor co-ordination. With the anxiety treatment market forecast by management to be worth US$18.2 billion in sales by 2020, BNC210 could be an extremely lucrative drug if it can become the standard of care in the future.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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