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Women Health a Prime Concern Worldwide: 3 Stocks in Focus

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 ‘A woman’s health is her capital’ – Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author.

Over the last few years, the ongoing debate about the effect of women’s health improvements on economic development is finally being taken as a matter of utmost relevance. However, the gap between words and action is still obvious as apparent from women of emerging countries whose limited or almost no access to education and employment make them extremely susceptible to life-threatening ailments.

In fact, women from developed economies are not too better off either. For instance, women from the United States, one of the socially and economically advanced countries suffer from a host of issues like high risk emergencies from sexual offence, mental depression, breast cancer, ovarian and cervical cancer, pregnancy issues, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Further, lifestyle issues, obesity and aging population add to the reasons behind deteriorating women health conditions. However, these issues are not only impacting the health of women but also the U.S. economy.

The American Cancer Society predicts that about 40,920 women are likely to succumb to breast cancer in 2018 in the United States. Additionally, it predicts that about 4,170 women might die from cervical cancer in the same year.

Here we take a look at some companies that are raking in billions just by focusing on women health.

Technologies Alleviating Women Health Concerns

Mammogram is the best way for early detection of breast cancer. Meanwhile, the Pap test can detect abnormal cells in the cervix which can turn cancerous.

An article in WILEY validates that about 33 million screening mammography exams are performed each year in the United States. In fact, MarketsandMarkets predicts that the global cancer diagnostics market is expected to reach $13.1 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 12.9%.

Healthcare giant, Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ - Free Report) launch of cancer drug — Imbruvica — in its oncology segment, deserves a special mention here. Additionally, pharmaceutical bigwig Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) is gradually exploring the possibility of expanding its IBRANCE capsules into recurrent and subsequent early breast cancer as well as several non-breast cancer indications.

Notably, the United States and Cuba are also on their way to establish a historic biotech joint venture in Havana to develop new cancer treatments. This is likely to improve survival rates in U.S. cancer patients.

Amid this favorable market scenario, let’s take a look at a few companies which investors can keep an eye on.

Stocks to Watch

We have zeroed in on three stocks which have made significant progress in women health and cancer care. Notably, all the three stocks have outperformed their industries over the past month.

Our first pick is California-based global cancer care company Genomic Health, Inc. (GHDX - Free Report) . The company has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Its first product, the 21-gene Oncotype DX breast cancer test is used to predict the likelihood of cancer recurrence within 10 years of diagnosis and chemotherapy.

In recent times, the company witnessed a series of favorable developments with respect to its Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score tests. In the last reported quarter, the company delivered more than 33,590 Oncotype DX test results, up 6% year over year.

Over the past month, the stock rallied 15.1% compared with the industry’s 1% rise. The figure also compares favorably with the S&P 500 index’s decline of 0.5%.

Next on our list is Massachusetts-based Hologic, Inc. (HOLX - Free Report) . The Zacks Rank #3 company is focused on mammography systems for breast examination.

Notably, the company became the first one to bag FDA approval to market a 3D imaging process called digital tomosynthesis. Hologic’s products include a broad portfolio of breast imaging, and related products and accessories. These include digital and film-based mammography systems and minimally invasive breast biopsy guidance systems. Lately, the company signed a definitive agreement to acquire Focal Therapeutics in a bid to strengthen its position in the rapidly growing market for breast conserving surgery.

In the last reported quarter, the company’s Breast Health business drove the top line significantly.

The stock rallied 3.2% compared with the industry’s 2.4% increase over the past month.

Investors may also keep a watch on Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Free Report) . The New York-based biopharmaceutical company has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). It is focused on the development of treatments targeting serious diseases. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The company’s key oncology products include Opdivo, Sprycel, Yervoy and Empliciti. Its high-profile immuno-oncology drug, Opdivo is currently approved in several countries including the United States, the EU and Japan for several cancer indications. The company recently collaborated with Clovis Oncology to evaluate the combination of Opdivo and latter’s poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor Rubraca in phase III trials for advanced ovarian cancer and advanced triple-negative breast cancers.

Over the past month, the stock has rallied 1.4% outperforming the industry’s 1.3% rise.

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