Don't let the current dismal environment for biotech stocks fool you. There are still plenty of lucrative opportunities to invest in the biotech sector.

We asked three Motley Fool contributors to identify biotech stocks that they believe have real growth prospects in February and beyond. That's why they chose Adicet Bio (NASDAQ: ACET), Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) and AstraZeneca (NASDAQ: AZN).

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Potential Ready-Made Winners

Keith Speights (Adicet Bio): Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies have great potential for anti-cancer treatment. However, the downside of CAR-T therapies currently on the market is that they are both expensive and time-consuming to prepare. Each cancer patient's own T cells must be extracted from their blood, sent to an off-site laboratory for genetic engineering – a process that typically takes three to six weeks – returned, and then reinfused into the patient's blood.

The holy grail of CAR-T is the development of an allogeneic "off-the-shelf" therapy that uses T cells from healthy donor cells and can be mass-produced for use in multiple patients. In this off-the-shelf CAR-T market, tiny Adicet Bio is expected to be a big winner.

In December, Adicet released positive interim data from a Phase 1 study evaluating its experimental CAR-T therapy, ADI-001. These early results are so good that CEO Chen Schor described them as "profound".

The stock initially soared in the first phase of data news. However, a subsequent follow-on stock offering caused Adicet's stock to give back most of its gains. However, another major catalyst may be on the horizon. Adicet is expected to report more data from its early research in the first half of this year.

If ADI-001 continues to be successful in clinical trials, it would not be surprising if a larger pharmaceutical manufacturer decides to acquire Adicet. My view is that Gilead Sciences, currently a leader in the CAR-T space, would be a good potential buyer.

Admittedly, Adicet's off-the-shelf CAR-T program has many hurdles to overcome, which makes the stock a risky proposition. But, with any luck, this small biotech could take off in the near future.

Volume is back

Prosper Junior Bakiny (Amgen): Biotech giant Amgen has been facing headwinds lately as sales of some of its key products have been falling, partly due to competition from biosimilars. In the third quarter, the drugmaker's revenue rose 4% year-over-year to $6.7 billion. Patent expiration is an inescapable problem for the pharmaceutical industry, but fortunately, Amgen seems to have a way to revive its fortunes.

The company is counting on two recently approved treatments to drive revenue growth. The first is Lumakras, a drug for advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Lumakras is great because it targets specific NSCLC mutations found in 13 percent of the patient population, and it is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Lumakras has also gained approval in Europe, and it may be on its way to sensational status.

Then there's Tezspire, a drug for people with severe asthma. Amgen developed Tezspire in collaboration with AstraZeneca. Of course, there are many asthma treatments, but – as Amgen's management says – many of these drugs have proven inadequate to meet the needs of many asthma patients. The company hopes that Tezspire will address the unmet need in that market.

Amgen can also count on revenue growth from at least one of its earlier-approved drugs, the psoriatic arthritis treatment Otezla. Sales of Otezla rose 13 percent year over year to $609 million in the third quarter. And thanks to a recent court victory, Amgen won't have to worry about generic competition for the drug until 2028.

Investors should expect Amgen's revenue growth rate to improve in the coming quarters. With more than two dozen clinical trial programs, the company should earn some label extensions for its existing products – as well as approvals for brand-new products – that will further strengthen its lineup.

Amgen currently has a reasonable forward P/E ratio of 12.8, compared to the average P/E ratio of 11 for the biotechnology industry.

The company also pays a dividend with an above-average yield of 3.1% at the current share price and a cash payout ratio of 50.5%. Overall, Amgen has the ability to reward patient investors over the long term, including solid market performance and dividend hikes.

Growth potential and above-average dividends

David Jagielski (AstraZeneca): Investing in a relatively inexpensive pharmaceutical company that has a rich pipeline and pays a sizable dividend can put you on a fairly reliable path to long-term profits. That's an accurate description of U.K.-based AstraZeneca.

Granted, the stock is down 7% over the past three months, and the S&P 500 is down 2% over that period. But the company reported earnings this month, and the solid performance may help the stock regain some traction.

One reason to expect strong results from AstraZeneca is that in early December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for Evusheld, its COVID-19 antibody mixture.

When used as a pre-exposure prophylaxis in people with compromised immune systems, Evusheld is effective in reducing symptoms in people who later become infected with COVID-19. Early sales may percolate into AstraZeneca's upcoming earnings results, which will cover the last three months of 2021. This could drive some of the already strong growth.

Through the first nine months of 2021, the company's sales grew 32% year-over-year to $25.4 billion, which includes COVID-19 vaccine revenue. Even excluding it, growth is still quite high at 21%. Management expects revenue growth to be at least 20% by 2021, and possibly in the mid-20s if revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine is included. And this projection was given before the advent of omicron. Given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the likely increase in demand for Evusheld and AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine will help the company exceed its guidance.

In the long run, you can also profit from the potential growth of the company's large pipeline, which currently includes 175 programs. In addition, AstraZeneca's acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals continues to bear fruit with the recent approval of a potentially heavyweight indication for the rare disease drug Ultomiris. Most importantly, there is the company's dividend, which yields 2.4% at the current share price, significantly above the 1.3% average yield of the S&P 500.

With a forward P/E ratio of just 13, AstraZeneca is not a very expensive stock to value today either. By comparison, healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson trades at an expected P/E of 16 times. AstraZeneca's attractive valuation combined with solid growth prospects could help make this stock even richer for investors in the short and long term.