3 Humongous Health-Care Stocks This Week

3 Humongous Health-Care Stocks This Week

New Year's Eve has come and gone -- but that didn't stop investors in a select group of health-care stocks to keep the party going. Here are three of the most humongous performers in the sector for the first week ending in 2014.

1. Patent popping
Shares of drugmaker Immunomedics popped early on Dec. 31 after the company announced that it had won approval for two U.S patents. The stock finished the week up an impressive 19%.

One of the patents relates to Immunomedics' proprietary technology for targeted delivery of its SN-38 antibody-drug conjugate to tumors. It's an important win for the company. Two drugs based on SN-38 are currently in phase 2 clinical studies. Early results from those studies are expected in the second quarter of 2014.

The other just-approved patent was for the secret sauce behind Immunomedics' kit for rapid labeling of peptides and proteins that can be used as imaging agents for positron-emission tomography, or PET, and magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, of diseases. The company's kit is particularly of interest in use as a companion diagnostic for antibody-drug conjugates.

2. Big mo'
Galena Biopharma
continues to win from big momentum. Shares more than doubled over the past three months -- and jumped nearly 19% this week on no real news.

What's behind Galena's nice move this week? The most likely explanation is that institutional investors are still pouring money into the stock. Several notable funds added to their positions over the past few months, including Barclays Global, Blackrock, and Highland Capital Management.

Investors, both institutional and retail, are eagerly anticipating late-stage study results for NeuVax, Galena's adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. A much larger drugmaker also awaits those results: Teva Pharmaceuticals . Teva scooped up marketing rights for NeuVax in Israel a little over a year ago. Lots of players are placing their bets on the drug keeping the big mo' going for Galena for quite a while.

3. Don't stop thinking about tomorrow
Some investors must have been humming the old Fleetwood Mac song "Don't Stop" over the past few days. Organovo Holdings shares surged almost 18% on no news at all.

All the excitement over Organovo stems from what could be to come. The company's 3-D bioprinting technology certainly seems to have the potential to revolutionize health-care -- someday. Organovo hopes to launch its first product, bioprinted liver tissue, by the end of 2014.

If the company achieves success with 3-D bioprinted liver tissue, the technology will be used to also develop heart and kidney tissue. There's a lot of promise but also a fair share of peril if things don't go so well. Organovo is currently valued at more than $840 million with no significant revenue.

Biggest bang for the buck
Which of this week's humongous stocks could be the biggest winner in 2014? Galena stands a pretty good chance, in my view.

Immunomedics and Organovo could continue their winning ways also. However, if Galena's phase 3 results for NeuVax live up to expectations, the stock could explode in a bigger way than it did in 2013 -- when shares more than tripled.

Note, however, those critical words "if" and "could." There's certainly a significant risk with any small biotech stock. Galena is no exception. With great potential for reward comes great risk. That maxim will hold true in 2014 as it has in every year before.

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The article 3 Humongous Health-Care Stocks This Week originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.

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Originally published