February 8th, 2023 | 11:49 CET
BioNTech, Pfizer, Cardiol Therapeutics, Bayer - Biotech stocks facing a revival?
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"[...] Orano had already experimented with Accum™ prior to working with us and then decided to collaborate. [...]" Sébastien Plouffe, CEO, Defence Therapeutics Inc.
BioNTech - Pfizer with sales problems in Q4
While the World Health Organization continues to consider COVID-19 a public health emergency, the Biden administration announced the expiration of the public health emergency on May 11. As a result, the contracts are no longer in effect, and prices for Corona vaccines are expected to rise significantly. On the other hand, demand for the vaccines will also drop significantly. This is not good news for market leader BioNTech, whose shares have lost more than EUR 45 in value since mid-December.
BioNTech's partner Pfizer has already presented its figures for the 4th quarter. Already there, it shows a decline in sales of the Comirnaty vaccine. Year-on-year, sales fell by 9% to around USD 11.3 billion. There was a slight increase of 3% for the full year, with sales of USD 37.8 billion. Pfizer's assessment of the current year is significantly worse. In its forecasts, it expects annual sales of USD 13.5 billion. That is a drop of more than 60%. BioNTech is scheduled to present its figures on February 20. It is safe to assume that the numbers will look similar to Pfizer's.
As a result, profits are shrinking, but the Mainz-based company has raised so much money in recent years that research and development will be covered for years to come. The product pipeline is fully focused on the area of oncology. To speed up research, the Company plans to relocate to the UK. Only with a new blockbuster are the old highs likely to be reached. Until then, investors will have to be patient. The share is currently trading at EUR 131.10 and has thus fallen back into the September / October 2022 range.
Cardiol Therapeutics - First patient in Phase II study
The number of cardiovascular diseases has been growing for years, and this trend will continue due to higher life expectancy. Cardiol Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on this growing market with the development of anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic therapies for heart disease. Its lead product candidate, CardiolRx, is a pharmaceutically manufactured oral solution containing cannabidiol for treating heart disease. The Company has received approval from the FDA to conduct Phase II clinical trials to treat acute myocarditis and recurrent pericarditis. In parallel with the trials, the Company is also developing a subcutaneously administered cannabidiol-based drug formulation to treat heart failure.
On January 17, Cardiol was pleased to announce that the first patient has been enrolled in the open-label Phase II pilot study evaluating the safety, tolerability and efficacy of CardiolRx in treating recurrent pericarditis. The study will also evaluate improvement in objective measures of disease and assess the feasibility of discontinuing background therapy, including corticosteroids, while taking CardiolRx. Approximately 25 patients will be enrolled in the study at specialized centers in the United States. Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr Paul C. Cremer said, "We are pleased to be the first clinical center to use this investigational drug in a patient with recurrent pericarditis, a debilitating inflammatory heart disease associated with symptoms that affect the quality of life and physical activity."
Phase II studies are expected to be completed in the next 12-24 months. As of September 30, 2022, CAD 65.5 million remained in cash, which should fund the Company through 2026. Those looking for more in-depth information on the Company should visit researchanalyst.com. Alternatively, CEO David Elsley is presenting the Company at the 6th International Investment Forum on February 15, where interested parties can also ask questions live. After the share price rose from USD 0.51 at the beginning of the year to almost USD 0.81 on the NASDAQ, the stock is currently consolidating. Currently, one pays USD 0.6644 for a share certificate.
Bayer - Pharmaceuticals business is developing well
The Monsanto takeover continues to weigh on the Group. The Crop Science division, which is benefiting from the current situation surrounding the Ukraine conflict, is constantly facing new lawsuits. By contrast, things are going well in the Pharmaceuticals Division. At the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, Stefan Oelrich, Head of the Pharmaceuticals Division, indicated the prospect of higher sales for a cardiac drug and a prostate cancer drug. Other blockbuster drugs are in the pipeline. For example, Asundexian, a treatment for strokes and heart attacks, is already in Phase III trials. The potential is estimated at around EUR 5 billion.
Most recently, the Leverkusen-based company applied to the European Medicines Agency for approval of a higher dosage of the blockbuster Eylea. Studies have shown that higher doses combined with longer injection intervals can improve patients' vision. However, all this news is currently being lost because the investor Bluebell is causing all kinds of turmoil, first demanding the split-up of the group. Shortly afterwards, Jeff Ubben also got on board and demanded that an external person replace Bayer's CEO Werner Baumann and that the Supervisory Board be reappointed. Bluebell has now adopted these demands. The departure of Baumann in 2024 is considered certain.
It seems, however, that Bluebell does not hold many shares; otherwise, this would have had to be reported. Irrespective of the disruptive fire from investors, Bayer's stock is doing extremely well this year. Since the beginning of the year, it has risen by more than 20%. The share is currently trading at EUR 58.21. From a purely fundamental point of view, the stock is still cheap, with a price-earnings ratio of around 7. Other pharmaceutical companies have significantly higher multiples. The discount is due to the Monsanto problems. If the lawsuits come to an end, the share can rise further.
The biotech and pharma sectors offer a lot of potential because the population is getting older, and thus the number of diseases is increasing. Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are on the rise. These markets offer great opportunities. BioNTech is primarily targeting the fight against cancer. Cardiol Therapeutics focuses on cardiovascular diseases. Bayer is broadly positioned in the pharmaceuticals sector and covers the growing trend toward self-medication with Consumer Health.
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