Vaulting from runner-up to second place — the firm’s highest ranking to date — is the four-strong Citi troupe piloted by Andrew Baum. From their London headquarters, the researchers track 20 European pharmaceuticals stocks, and they are sanguine on the prospects for their sector, recommending that clients overweight the group. The shares outperformed the regional broad market by 8.6 percentage points during the 12-month period ended in January. “We see continued positive and increasing returns on R&D above the cost of capital, coupled with stable reimbursement and market access in the U.S. across many, although not all, therapeutic areas,” explains Baum, 44. Citi’s analysts also anticipate meaningful advances in immunobiology therapies, which could lead to significant advances in treatments for both cancer and autoimmune disease over the next five to ten years, he says. In this light, their top picks going forward are two major multinational players with exposure to this segment, Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca and Switzerland’s Roche Holding. “We have championed the paradigm-shifting nature of immuno-oncology in [treating] cancer,” Baum notes. His crew’s price objective for AstraZeneca is 5,400p and for Roche, Sf310. The stocks ended January at 4,743p and €249.40, respectively.