The article begins: "It's been all hands on deck as companies involved in medical diagnostics, testing and faster clinical drug trials have turned their focus to Covid-19. Several leading investment experts and contributors to MoneyShow.com highlight some favorite companies that have the potential to help in battling this pandemic."
As a contract research organization, Icon plc (ICLR) supports all stages of development for new drugs. Its customers include the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. As nearly one-third of drug development research is outsourced, Icon helps pharmaceutical customers to control costs, shorten development times, and navigate more-complicated clinical trials.
The company's track record is impressive, leading to approval of 18 of the world's 20 best-selling drugs. The company specializes in the strategic development, management, and analysis of programs that support various stages of the clinical development process from compound selection to Phase I-IV clinical studies.
Icon was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The company currently operates from 99 locations in 40 countries and has approximately 14,600 employees. Over the past decade, Icon has grown sales at an annualized rate of 13.1% a year, EPS growth has been less consistent, but have been growing at 39.6% a year since bottoming out in 2011.
In the near term, increased efforts to find treatments and vaccines for the Covid-19 virus could result in some benefit to the company, though workplace restrictions affecting employees in its various facilities could affect productivity. The company does offer remote monitoring and testing tools as well as direct-to-patient contact solutions that could assist in global efforts.
Within the healthcare industry, positive trends are identifiable for increased research and development spending, FDA approvals, funding for biotech research, and prescription drug sales worldwide. All of these underpin Icon's growth prospects.
Over the next five years, analysts on the Wall Street see the company growing EPS at 11.9% a year. In January, Icon management guided towards revenue growth of 5.8%-10.0% for the year, and EPS growth of 9.7%-14.1%. We are pegging long-term EPS and revenue growth at 11%. Icon's stock is a buy up to $158.