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February 10th, 2023 | 18:56 CET

Defence Therapeutics, Bayer, BioNTech - US investors love biotech stocks

  • Biotechnology
  • Covid19
Photo credits: Bayer AG

US investors love biotech companies. So it is thanks to pressure from investor Jeff Ubben that Bayer AG's leadership is changing a year earlier than planned. Shareholders welcome the decision, with Bayer's share price rising a whopping 5% this week. The fight against cancer is the mission of the Canadian company Defence Therapeutics. They have taken another critical step forward in the pipeline to bring their cancer therapy to solid tumors. BioNTech co-founder Ugur Sahin is also showing commitment. The Turkish-born physician actively supports the crisis regions of the earthquakes in his home country and Syria. Find out how this relates to the Group's profits here.

time to read: 4 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


    Bayer AG leadership change sends share price soaring

    Since 2019, shareholders have distrusted Bayer AG CEO Werner Baumann, who is still in office. At the Annual General Meeting at the time, the actions of CEO Werner Baumann were not approved. The distrust was too deep due to the multi-billion Monsanto deal. The agricultural division was supposed to shine, and Bayer was supposed to become number one in Crop Science. But the opposite has happened since then. Lawsuits and claims for damages have piled up on suspicion that the pesticide RoundUp causes cancer.

    Since this week, shareholders can breathe a sigh of relief. With the American Bill Anderson, an experienced pharmaceutical manager is coming to the helm of the German Group. Most recently, Anderson held the position of CEO at Roche's Pharmaceuticals Division, where he successfully spearheaded a comprehensive change strategy that contributed to numerous new winning launches, rising sales and greater effectiveness across the Company. Before that, he held the position of CEO at Genentech, one of the pioneers in the biotech field. It is thanks to pressure from some US investors that Werner Baumann is stepping down a year earlier than planned.

    On April 1, 2023, Bill Anderson will join the Bayer Group as a member of the Board of Management. After the selection process began in the middle of last year, he was elected unanimously. Werner Baumann (60), Bayer's current CEO, will work closely with him to ensure a smooth transition ahead of his retirement at the end of May 2023 after 35 years of service at Bayer. The share price has jumped a whopping 5%. With the new man at the helm, the split of the Bayer Group will likely follow. With so much pharmaceutical background on the new Board of Management, this is conceivable.

    Defence Therapeutics continues to innovate in cancer therapy

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates around 9.96 million cancer deaths worldwide in 2020. The number of new cancer cases in the same year was around 19.3 million - and rising. Valuations of biotech and digital health companies have plummeted worldwide, including in Germany, following the pandemic boom. However, although investment has been down sharply recently, the situation may change again quickly. Cell and gene therapy startups remain attractive for the future.

    One candidate is Canadian biotech Defence Therapeutics, specializing in immuno-oncology vaccine development and drug delivery technologies.

    Defence Therapeutics is announcing the start of manufacturing its ARM vaccine in preparation for a Phase I clinical trial for patients with solid cancer tumors. The Defence team's latest discovery is that AccumTM can be induced to reprogram mesenchymal stromal cells, which are inherently immunosuppressive, into antigen-presenting cells capable of eliciting potent anti-cancer responses leading to the ARM vaccine.

    It is estimated that the exercises and quality control checks will be completed by mid-spring. After that, Defense will work with Health Canada to obtain permission for the Phase I clinical trial in 2023. Once Phase I clinical is complete, this universal ARM vaccine can be adapted for patients with different types of cancer. All biotech investors have access to Dr Moutih Rafei, VP R&D, Director available for questions. Investors can also get an overview of the Company's plans in a live presentation on February 15 at 7:30 p.m. CET.

    BioNTech - Founder donates to earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria

    Pharmaceutical companies like BioNTech, which have made significant profits selling pandemic vaccines and treatments over the past two years, are now facing a steep cliff and pressure from investors to use their earnings wisely.

    Ugur Sahin, the co-founder of BioNTech, responds to the terrible earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and offers a very meaningful use of his earnings: "We would like to contribute to humanitarian aid in Turkey and Syria by donating EUR 500,000 to the non-profit Action Alliance for Disaster Relief and EUR 500,000 to the UN Refugee Agency, the partner of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Germany. We continue to monitor the situation closely concerning our Turkish employees and offer individual assistance as needed. On behalf of the entire Management Board, I would also like to thank our colleagues who volunteer to help in these special situations and participate in fundraising activities."

    Thanks to the vaccine, which the Company developed with its German partner BioNTech, and the antiviral drug Paxlovid COVID-19, Pfizer achieved the largest profit in the aftermath of the pandemic, with sales of more than USD 56 billion in 2022. One can deduct 1 million as a donation, with a thoroughly sensible use of the sum.

    Biotech remains a growth opportunity for investors with marathon ambitions. Pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and BioNTech made substantial profits during the pandemic. It is becoming clear what successors are in the pipeline waiting to be commercialized. One company with strong growth potential is Defence Therapeutics. Investors can learn more about their product portfolio at the 6th International Investment Forum. Interested parties can register free of charge here. Bayer also faces several changes with the change in leadership. How Anderson will lead the Leverkusen-based company will become clear from April 1, 2023.

    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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