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January 10th, 2024 | 12:00 CET

Cardiol Therapeutics, Morphosys, BioNTech - Who will switch to the fast lane in 2024?

  • Biotechnology
  • Cancer
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The life science and biotech sector has a few aces up its sleeve in 2024. Cardiol Therapeutics announces a significant clinical milestone, with over 50% of participants now enrolled in the ARCHER trial for acute myocarditis. MorphoSys, a cancer drug company, is developing an oral therapy specifically for proteins against myelofibrosis with the promising compound "pelabresib". However, analysts disagree on the share valuation. Top dog BioNTech is planning sales of EUR 3 billion in 2024, also focusing on oncology. CEO Uğur Şahin emphasizes the strategic scaling of the cancer therapy business by 2025 and initial market launches by 2026. Who will use 2024 to move into the fast lane?

time to read: 5 minutes | Author: Juliane Zielonka

Table of contents:

    David Elsley, CEO, Cardiol Therapeutics Inc.
    "[...] As a company dedicated to developing treatments for rare heart diseases, we see this as an opportune moment to contribute to the fight against heart disease and make meaningful strides in improving heart health worldwide. [...]" David Elsley, CEO, Cardiol Therapeutics Inc.

    Full interview


    Milestone in Clinical Research: Cardiol Therapeutics surpasses 50% enrollment mark for ARCHER trial on acute myocarditis

    The Canadian clinical-stage life sciences company Cardiol Therapeutics (ISIN CA14161Y2006) announced a new milestone in its clinical research. More than half of the planned participants in its Phase II multi-center ARCHER trial for the treatment of acute myocarditis are already enrolled. The trial is being conducted according to the highest scientific criteria relevant in medical research: international, multi-center, double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled. It aims to investigate the safety, tolerability, and effects of their compound, CardiolRx™, on the recovery of patients with acute myocarditis.

    Acute myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and cardiac arrhythmia. The symptoms often resemble the flu, including headaches, aching limbs, fever and sore throat. Viral infections are the leading cause, but bacterial infections, certain medications and vaccines can also lead to myocarditis. In particular, COVID-19 vaccines have caused concern in this context, as young and athletic individuals, in particular, exhibited symptoms of myocarditis after vaccination.

    The positioning of CardiolRx™ is also noteworthy, as there are no FDA-approved therapies for acute myocarditis in the US. Upon diagnosis, patients typically spend about a week in hospital and incur high financial costs for their recovery, a consequence of the pay-as-you-go healthcare system in the country. Cardiol Therapeutics' CardiolRx™ fills exactly this niche and has the potential to become an orphan disease drug, which could also lead to approval in Europe. Investors should analyze this stock more closely.

    Development potential in myelofibrosis: MorphoSys with development potential and challenges - Analysts disagree

    The biopharmaceutical company MorphoSys (ISIN DE0006632003 ), based in Germany and the USA, has a mission: to provide people diagnosed with cancer a more carefree life. Their approach involves developing proprietary drugs, such as those against lymphoma, as well as forming partnerships with well-known players like Novartis. One of their innovative therapeutics is the active ingredient "pelabresib" in the fight against the malignant bone marrow disease, myelofibrosis. Myelofibrosis is characterized by the excessive formation of connective tissue in the bone marrow, which leads to abnormally shaped red blood cells, anaemia and an enlarged spleen. Those affected feel tired and weak due to the accompanying anaemia caused by this disease. Approximately 18,000 people in the USA and Europe are affected annually, with around 3,200 diagnosed cases. The disease is still little researched, providing development opportunities for the Company.

    Pelabresib" is intended to help restore the balance of cells in the bone marrow by inhibiting endogenous proteins that contribute to the disease-related inflammatory processes in the body. The compound temporarily reduces inflammatory signals and is administered orally. The current clinical trials include 430 myelofibrosis patients, with the primary clinical endpoint being a 35% reduction in disease-related enlarged spleen size. Splenomegaly is one of the main symptoms of this disease.

    Several analysts have recently re-examined MorphoSys and concluded that the share is partially overvalued. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered the price target for MorphoSys from USD 10.00 to USD 8.50 on December 5, 2023, and rated the stock as "overweight". Goldman Sachs Group issued a "Neutral" rating in a research note on November 22, 2023, and lowered the price target from USD 9.25 to USD 4.75. Wells Fargo & Company raised the price target for MorphoSys from USD 10.00 to USD 17.00 in a research note last week and rated the stock as "Overweight".

    According to Jefferson Research, the key financial figures of MorphoSys AG show solid earnings quality. However, operating efficiency, balance sheet quality, and cash flow quality show weaknesses. In particular, operating efficiency and cash flow quality appear to be challenging aspects. Investors should take this into account when making decisions and consider potential risks.

    BioNTech plans EUR 3 billion total revenue for 2024 with a strategic focus on cancer drugs

    **BioNTech (ISIN US09075V1026) announced a revenue forecast of around EUR 3 billion for 2024 on Tuesday. This figure is less than the previous year. The forecast is in line with the Company's strategy to expand its oncology business with new product launches in the coming years.

    BioNTech has reported that it ended 2023 with approximately EUR 17.5 billion in cash, cash equivalents and investments in securities. The figures are still unaudited. BioNTech is targeting a strong financial position and significant interest income generation in the current year. "We currently have late-stage trials underway in several oncology indications, and we plan to have ten or more potentially approvable trials in our pipeline by the end of 2024," says Uğur Şahin, co-founder and CEO of BioNTech.

    The Company plans to scale the business for commercial readiness in oncology in multiple countries by the end of 2025 and anticipates the first market launches in oncology from 2026 onwards. BioNTech will provide detailed financial results for 2024, together with the financial results for 2023, on March 20.

    Cardiol Therapeutics reports a significant milestone in clinical research. In its Phase II multi-center ARCHER trial for the treatment of acute myocarditis, over 50% of planned participants have already completed enrollment. CardiolRx™ could represent a breakthrough therapy for this condition, especially since there are no approved therapies for patients in the United States. MorphoSys, a biopharmaceutical company focused on cancer drugs, is fighting the malignant bone marrow disease myelofibrosis. Its active ingredient, "Pelabresib", has the potential to restore the balance of cells in the bone marrow, providing patients with a significant improvement in quality of life. Despite promising approaches, analysts are divided on MorphoSys's stock valuation, with diverging price targets and estimates of financial metrics. BioNTech plans sales of around EUR 3 billion for 2024. The focus is on expanding the oncology business, with late-stage trials in various indications. The Company ended 2023 with EUR 17.5 billion in cash, cash equivalents and securities investments and aims for a strong financial position. CEO Uğur Şahin emphasizes the strategic scaling of the oncology business by 2025, and initial market launches from 2026. Investors can choose between Cardiol Therapeutics, MorphoSys, and BioNTech based on their investment strategy and benefit from the candidate that turns words into actions for a shift to the fast lane.

    Conflict of interest

    Pursuant to §85 of the German Securities Trading Act (WpHG), we point out that Apaton Finance GmbH as well as partners, authors or employees of Apaton Finance GmbH (hereinafter referred to as "Relevant Persons") may hold shares or other financial instruments of the aforementioned companies in the future or may bet on rising or falling prices and thus a conflict of interest may arise in the future. The Relevant Persons reserve the right to buy or sell shares or other financial instruments of the Company at any time (hereinafter each a "Transaction"). Transactions may, under certain circumstances, influence the respective price of the shares or other financial instruments of the Company.

    In addition, Apaton Finance GmbH is active in the context of the preparation and publication of the reporting in paid contractual relationships.

    For this reason, there is a concrete conflict of interest.

    The above information on existing conflicts of interest applies to all types and forms of publication used by Apaton Finance GmbH for publications on companies.

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    Der Autor

    Juliane Zielonka

    Born in Bielefeld, she studied German, English and psychology. The emergence of the Internet in the early '90s led her from university to training in graphic design and marketing communications. After years of agency work in corporate branding, she switched to publishing and learned her editorial craft at Hubert Burda Media.

    About the author

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