Why Is George Soros Buying Celgene Corporation?

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Superinvestors have transcended the investing landscape for one simple reason: they are awfully good at making money. Many smaller investors therefore like to track the movements of these "elephants" to see what they are buying and selling in hopes of replicating their extraordinary success.

Although George Soros might be a controversial figure, he is undoubtedly a superinvestor par excellence, making him a closely watched figure in the world of investing. An investment of a mere $10,000 in his Quantum Fund over an 18-year period, for example, would have easily produced returns in excess of $1 million.

Given his near mythical ability to make money, it's not surprising that the investing public stood up and took notice when Soros took out a $2 billion bearish bet against the broader market earlier this year. What went largely unnoticed, though, was his huge buys in market-sensitive names like Apple, Facebook, and Celgene .    


According to a 13F filing, the Soros Fund Management initiated a new position in Celgene in the second quarter, purchasing a noteworthy 688,000 shares. Put simply, Soros isn't exactly testing the waters with a $65 million position in Celgene per his normal investing strategy. Rather, he jumped in with both feet.

What does Soros see in Celgene?
Celgene is the second-largest component of the iShares Nasdaq Biotech Index  , yet the stock has had a wild 2014. In the second quarter, the stock plunged by 14%, but has since rallied by nearly 10% year to date, shown by the chart below. 

CELG Chart

The story behind Celgene's rise and fall this year revolves around its earnings. In January, Celgene posted disappointing revenue numbers for the fourth quarter of 2013, and gave a weak outlook for 2014. Given that Celgene's management is known for their conservative outlook, we shouldn't be too stunned by the fact that the company has now handily beaten the Street's estimates for the last two quarters running. 

Specifically, Celgene's sales have increased by 18.7% in the first half of 2014, compared to the same period a year ago, fueled mainly by its flagship blood cancer drug Revlimid. Revlimid has already racked up $2.35 billion in sales through two quarters this year, up 14.8% from last year.

The company's broad-based cancer drug, Abraxane, has also helped to drive top-line growth this year. Sales of Abraxane, for example, jumped by 51% in the first quarter due to a recent label expansion for advanced pancreatic cancer. Moreover, Pomalyst sales have soared since its approval for use in multiple myeloma patients that failed other treatments, tallying up $161 million in second-quarter sales. 

Taken together, these three drugs are expected to drive diluted EPS higher by 33% next year, and should propel solid growth for years to come. 

Celgene and its investors also have Otezla to looks toward down the line. The company believes the drug could achieve sales of $1.5 billion by as early as 2017, meaning that revenue would nearly double from current levels

Foolish wrap-up
Celgene looks like a winner based on its forward earnings potential. Perhaps more importantly, I think investors should take a close look at management's stellar track record of being able to develop major new drugs and expanding labels for currently approved drugs in significant ways. Viewed this way, I think there will be even more upside to this stock in the years to come. Overall, the Soros Fund's interest in Celgene has solid reasoning behind it, making this a biotech worth getting on your watch list.  

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The article Why Is George Soros Buying Celgene Corporation? originally appeared on Fool.com.

George Budwell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Celgene. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.

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