Biotech is a notoriously risky business. Many biotechnology products do not produce the desired results consistently, while others fail to gain acceptance in the marketplace. Of course, when a biotech product succeeds, investors can make a lot of money.

You can stay off the roller coaster by looking for companies that have a stable track record, with growth prospects that are reasonable rather than dramatic. Despite the drama that is built into the biotech business, there are companies that proceed calmly and offer investors reliable returns.

We have selected five top biotech stocks that are poised for growth for 2017. All figures are current as of July 10, 2017.

1. Celgene Corp.

Celgene (CELG) focuses on cancer and inflammatory diseases. The company not only develops its own products; it collaborates with other large drug makers to bring products to market.

Revenues have been flat for the past four quarters, but operating income increased steadily, according to quarterly reports. This has been a stable company, especially considering biotech carries high risk.

The stock started 2017 with steady gains through April, but gave back its gains. At the beginning of June, the stock found support and began rising again. It is now consolidating its June gains.

The stock could perform well in the second half of 2017. The company has financial expectations for the remainder of the year that are above analyst estimates.

2. Gilead Sciences Inc.

Gilead (GILD) has been growing at a rate of around 30% for five years. The company is a leader in HIV treatments, and has a successful drug for treating hepatitis C. (See also: Gilead To Focus on NASH and HIV Drugs In 2017.)

Revenues have been rising, and operating income is up for the past four years. Analysts and the company are forecasting earnings growth through 2017 and lasting through 2019.

A look at the stock chart shows GILD had been in a declining price channel since May 2016. The stock put in a bottom at around $64, then broke sharply upward in late June 2017.

3. Exelixis Inc.

Exelixis (EXEL) focuses on cancer care. It has anti-tumor drugs as well as treatments for kidney cancer.

The company has routinely delivered positive surprises on earnings. Guidance suggests that Exelixis will grow more than 110% in 2017.

The stock had a breakout to start the year, then began forming a base. It was in that consolidation through the first half of the year. The stock broke sharply upward out of the base in late June 2017.

Exelixis entered a licensing deal with Takeda Pharmaceutical (TKPYY) that pleased investors, and its drug to treat liver cancer is coming out of trials soon. (See also: Exelixis, Takeda Ink $145M Cancer License Pact.)

4. Enzo Biochem Inc.

Enzo (ENZ) offers therapies for cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases.

The stock has been in an uptrend since March 2016, and started forming a new base in December 2016. The stock broke out of its base in early March 2017 and has been climbing since then. It had a second breakout on June 11, 2017.

Enzo has a market cap of $523.01 million and has been increasing revenues steadily since 2014.

5. Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC

Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) has developed a focus on sleep and blood disorders. The company has had a 20% annual growth rate for three years.

The stock dropped in value since August 2016, but began 2017 with an uptick. It had a high-volume breakout on January 19, 2017. It began consolidating its gains at that time and is still in a base.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the company's sleep-disorder drug in January 2017.

The Bottom Line

Investing is not gambling. Though the biotech sector carries risk, it is still possible to find solid companies with reasonable prospects for growth. All of the companies on this list have weathered the ups and downs of the industry, and they look like they are ready to come out on top in 2017.

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