Health stocks don’t get the investor appreciation that battery metals do these days — but a key index of 40 ASX biotechs shows they are making strong returns.

Biotech Daily’s index of 40 key ASX biotech stocks finished up 18 per cent for the year to June 30, while the ASX-200 returned 8 per cent, says editor David Langsam.

The 2018 performance of the Biotech Daily Top 40 Index (BDI-40) suggests that if you “want to make money”, buying and holding biotech stocks is a strong option, editor David Langsam tells Stockhead.

“The headline is quite clear here given their performance, compared to the ASX,” Mr Langsam said.

The BDI-40 index was up 18 per cent for the financial year and up 1 per cent in June. The ASX200 was up 3 pecent in June, but just 8 per cent overall for the year.

Just 11 biotech companies in the BDI-40 list increased their market caps in June, while 24 declined and four saw no change.

However, Mr Langsam said he was “very secure” with the current list of biotech companies, predicting there was not likely to be significant movement in the top 20 companies over the coming months.

“They are not likely to jump around a lot,” he said.

Watching the biotechnology space over the past 12 months, Mr Langsman says there have been some surprises though.

Three companies sitting outside his top 40 list — Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals (ASX: PAR), Bioxyne (ASX:BXN) and BARD1 Life Sciences (ASX:BD1) posted gains of 300 per cent in market cap increases over the past 12 months.

It wasn’t on the list, but auto-immune disease drug developer Invion (ASX:IVX) had a 4575 per cent improvement from $4 million to $187 million in market cap in 2018. 

Meanwhile, stocks in “Cannabis Corner” have dropped from their highs of April this year, Mr Langsam said.

“There’s a reappraisal of marijuana companies, and an overall downward trend.”

The best biotech performers (by market cap increase) from the BDI-40 list for FY18:

1. Volpara Health Technologies (ASX:VHT): the medical technology company was up by 302.9 per cent.

2. Oncosil (ASX:OSL): oncology medical device business Oncosil was finished up 206 per cent for the year.

3, Polynovo (ASX:PNV): the polymer business gained 198 per cent in 2018.

4. Imugene (ASX:IMU): this gastric and breast cancer immunotherapy developer finished up 168 per cent.

5. Neuren (ASX:NEU) brain injury fighter Neuren was up 145 per cent.

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