Historically, biotech companies have offered investors the possibility of outsized success, but they also carry high levels of risk. The reason for this is that biotech companies traditionally race to develop cutting edge products. Because they are continuously tracing new paths, these companies usually have results that are extremely inconsistent. When a product in a biotech company's pipeline fails to materialize or to produce the desired results, that company's stock price can suffer the consequences. On the other hand, when these businesses achieve success, investors positioned correctly stand to make a huge amount of money.

Fortunately, it's possible for investors eager to mitigate risk to avoid (or at least downplay) the drama that is inherent in the biotech industry. Buying biotech stocks does not have to mean going all in on the risk that a new product will work out. Indeed, there are also biotech companies which have a more stable track record. Though these businesses tend to have more modest growth prospects than the companies which end up generating the most impressive figures, they nonetheless are usually safer bets for the everyday investor.

Below, we'll explore some of the top biotech stock prospects for 2019, including information about why these companies may be poised for success in the months to come. All figures are current as of December 29, 2018.

AbbVie Inc. (ABBV)

The maker of autoimmune drug Humira had a strong start to the year. Early in 2018, the company's soars reached an all-time intraday high of more than $125. However, the months since have been less stellar. Pipeline setbacks and other issues have ultimately caused the stock price to drop. However, there are numerous reasons to expect gains in 2019. Late in 2018, AbbVie submitted an application to the FDA for Upadacitinib, an oral investigational JAK1-selective inhibitor, which aims to treat adult patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Also in December, the company revealed a $5 billion supplement to its existing stock repurchase program, a successful set of trial results for a new drug intended for leukemia patients, and a shakeup at the executive level. All told, 2019 could be an impressive year for ABBV stock.

  • Average Volume: 6.04 million
  • Market Cap: $138.05 billion
  • P/E Ratio (TTM): 18.83
  • EPS (TTM): $4.84
  • Dividend and Yield: $3.84 (4.21%)

Novavax (NVAX)

Novavax is a clinical-stage vaccine development company. The next few months show lots of promise for this small-cap name. In the first quarter of 2019, Novavax will likely reveal important trial results for ResVax, its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine drug in development. The company also has a flu vaccine called NanoFlu in trial as well. Although there's no telling yet whether one or both of these vaccines will be approved, each could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales if they make it to market.

On the other hand, Novavax has a history of falling short of expected experimental drug success. Two years back, a late-stage trial of a lung infection vaccine failed completely, decimating Novavax's stock price. NanoFlu in particular has already produced compelling results: the company indicated that the flu vaccine made significant improvements to patients' immune responses to the H3N2 strain of the flu as compared against the current standard. Even if just one of the two vaccines in development makes it to market, NVAX stock could jump in 2019.

  • Average Volume: 5.23 million
  • Market Cap: $703.46 million
  • P/E Ratio (TTM): N/A
  • EPS (TTM): -$0.54
  • Dividend and Yield: N/A

Amarin (AMRN)

2018 was a phenomenal year for Amarin. As of this writing, AMRN shares are up more than 212% for 2018, and that's after the stock price has declined somewhat from its peak earlier in the fall. One reason for Amarin's massive success was its fish oil pill, Vascepa. The company revealed results for the prescription pill which showed that Vascepa produced a 25% relative risk reduction for cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attack when combined with a statin in patients suffering from high triglyceride levels. Vascepa's results far outpace any other omega 3 supplement in this way.

In 2019, Amarin is likely to push Vascepa to new heights. THe company will produce educational materials for doctors ahead of a regulatory application, likely producing a boost to off-label prescription sales. Even while regulatory approval is pending, Vascepa could continue to bring in money for Amarin. Indeed, the company's management expects that Vascepa's sales could eventually reach up to $2 billion per year, about 10 times the sales for the prescription pill in 2018.

  • Average Volume: 5.08 million
  • Market Cap: $3.91 billion
  • P/E Ratio (TTM): N/A
  • EPS (TTM): -$0.36
  • Dividend and Yield: N/A

TG Therapeutics (TGTX)

TG Therapeutics saw its stock price take a significant hit when the company pushed back response rate data for a leukemia drug combo which was in late-stage development. Fortunately for TG Therapeutics, the Unity trial is likely to produce the necessary long-term survival data sometime in 2019. On the other hand, there's no telling just how the trial will play out: if the results are fantastic, TG is poised to make big gains in the market. On the other hand, if the trial's results aren't stellar, TG may see its stock price continue to falter, particularly given that the drugs it's testing target a relatively uncommon disease.

Heading into 2019, TG remains a relatively risky move. If the trial goes well, investors could be in for big gains, but that remains an uncertain prospect at this point.

  • Average Volume: 1.31 million
  • Market Cap: $311.32 million
  • P/E Ratio (TTM): N/A
  • EPS (TTM): -$2.08
  • Dividend and Yield: N/A