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8 stocks up more than 200% ytd

Jim Cramer at MM2K show on Wall Street
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Among the best performers in the Russell 2000 are 8 stocks all of which are up 200% or more ytd. And they all share something in common.

"They are all biotechs," said Cramer.

That's in part because, "biotech companies have growth prospects that are totally immune to the horror of a government shutdown, or the terror of an economic slowdown," noted the Mad Money host.

Which stocks have generated such outstanding returns? We thought you might be curious so we put together a list. It follows.

Acadia Pharmaceuticals

Up 504% year to date Acadia is developing a drug for psychosis caused by Parkinson's disease. "Acadia just reported some pretty positive phase 3 data, the company's launching a pivotal trial in the second half of next year, and they have enough cash to keep the business going until the FDA decides on whether to approve the drug in 2015," Cramer said. "That's a long way off, but for development stage biotechs like this one, the stocks trade on pipeline catalysts more than earnings or revenue estimates."

Celldex Therapeutics

Up 463% for the year," Cramer said Celldex is in the biotech sweet spot. "It's an orphan drug developer," he noted, "one that targets a rare kidney disorder. Also the company's working on novel treatments for cancer—these are the two areas where you can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for a drug once it gets approved. Celldex has a big catalyst coming next month when we get more phase 2 data on their potential brain tumor vaccine treatment. I like this one a great deal."

Insys Therapeutics

Up 370% ytd, Insys makes fast-acting painkillers for patients suffering from cancer. "Also, it's developing a synthetic medical marijuana to help with chemotherapy-induced nausea," Cramer said.

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Keryx Biopharma

Up 296% for the year, Keryx develops drugs for both kidney diseases and cancer. "Their flagship product, Zerenex for patients with end-stage renal disease, is currently in phase 3 trials—the data on this drug has been very positive, with fewer safety issues than the competition. Keryx has what we like to see: good clinical trial results with a drug in phase 3, the last phase before it can get approved and come to market," Cramer said.

Clovis Oncology

Up 287% ytd, Clovis is developing a niche treatment for lung cancer. "The stock roared as the early stage data came out, and while it's pulled back lately as the company tried to put itself up for sale and failed, Clovis has even more in the pipeline and I'd come back to this one as they get further along," Cramer said.

Isis Pharma / Alnylam

Up 262% and 206% respectively ytd, Cramer groups these companies together because both treat disease by altering RNA. "I recommended Isis a year ago, then the company had some FDA issues. Since then his stock has quadrupled. Plus, it's not just this orphan cholesterol condition, Isis has 20 more drugs in the pipeline," Cramer said.


Up 255% ytd, "Aegerion is all about its drug for patients with super high cholesterol," Cramer said.

NPS Pharma

Up 268% year to date, NPS is also an orphan drug maker. "They have one drug on the market that's been approved for short-bowel syndrome and a lot more in the pipeline. When I recommended this thirteen months ago, many people seemed to hate it, yet now it feels like NPS goes up every day," Cramer said.

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