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May 16th, 2023 | 09:30 CEST

Morphosys, Defence Therapeutics, Evotec - A lot of movement in the biotech sector

  • Biotechnology
  • Pharma
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The biotech sector is on the move. On the one hand, the industry has seen an increase in mergers and acquisitions in recent months. The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, for example, recently took over Seagan for USD 43 billion. Other companies are likely to follow suit. In addition, many companies were able to break away from their lows of the past months and have further upside potential.

time to read: 3 minutes | Author: Stefan Feulner

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


    Defence Therapeutics - Consistently good news flow

    The Canadian biopharmaceutical company, which is using its patented Accum™ platform technology to develop the next generation of vaccines and ADC products, is going from strength to strength. The technology allows precise transport of vaccine antigens or ADCs in the intact form to target cells. Based on Accum™, Defence Therapeutics has already developed plans around therapeutic vaccines against cancer, a vaccine against infections with the HP virus, which also has potential for acute therapeutic use, and the chemotherapeutic AccuTOX.

    In cooperation with the clinical team at the City of Hope hospital, one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States, Defence Therapeutics has successfully completed the preclinical efficacy study for AccuTOX, its most advanced research and development program. This milestone opens the door for submitting IND (Investigational New Drug) documents for a Phase I clinical trial. The compound has been shown to prevent tumor growth in animal models, including T-cell lymphoma, breast cancer and malignant melanoma. The focus of the completed preclinical study was on minimizing the dosage of AccuTOX on the one hand and on combining it with anti-PD-1 as well as anti-LAG3 on the other, which is comparable to the use of Opdualag, a combination drug from the company BMS. This drug is currently administered to cancer patients at the City of Hope.

    The results were convincing. It was possible to lower the dosage. In addition, with regard to combination therapy, it was determined that AccuTOX could be easily adapted with surface proteins or any antibodies currently being tested in advanced clinical trials. Through this milestone, Defence Therapeutics and City of Hope intend to complete their Investigational New Drug application process as planned.

    In addition to AccuTOX, both technology and other developments associated with Accum™ are making significant progress. Further news is expected soon, according to management. The Company is broadly diversified and highly scalable due to its platform technology. The market capitalization is currently CAD 118.65 million. The wave of acquisitions in the biotechnology sector has been going on for months. Most recently, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer acquired Seagen, a company that can be classified in the peer group of Defence Therapeutics. The takeover price was USD 43 billion.

    Morphosys - Chart picture brightens further

    After the disastrous stock market year 2022 with price losses of 66%, the rebound that the share started at a low of EUR 11.80 at the end of December continues. Since then, Morphosys has posted a performance of almost 70% to currently EUR 21.20. The next resistance levels are already at EUR 21.63 and EUR 24.77. Should the latter be broken, a buy signal would be generated with a potential close to the EUR 30 mark.

    The analysts at US investment bank Goldman Sachs are less optimistic about the Morphosys stock. They adjusted their valuation model for the antibody specialist after the first-quarter figures. The experts continue to see a price target of EUR 12.50, and the investment recommendation is "sell".

    Things should get exciting at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which will take place from June 2 to 6, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois, and the hybrid annual meeting of the European Hematology Association, which will be held from June 8 to 11, 2023, in Frankfurt. There, the Martinsried-based company intends to demonstrate the potential of its oncology pipeline. Presentations will include the latest data on Pelabresib, a BET inhibitor currently in development, and Tafasitamab, an immunotherapy directed against CD19, which is marketed in the US together with Incyte under the brand name Monjuvi.

    Evotec - The MDAX beckons

    The Hamburg-based biotech company, active in the field of pharmaceutical drug research, also provided its annual report and an announcement for the first quarter of 2023. Evotec reported a successful start to the year with several extensions and expansions of partnerships. "The size and scope of the transactions were significantly greater than in the same period in 2022," it said in a press release.

    No further details were reported in relation to first-quarter results. In contrast, the future MDAX candidate, which plans to return to the MDAX in June, is sticking to its annual forecasts. Due to a cyber attack, the Company was unable to deliver its audited annual financial statements on time, forcing Evotec to drop out of the index.

    For 2023, Evotec expects EUR 820 million to EUR 840 million in revenue and an adjusted operating profit of EUR 115 million to EUR 130 million.

    The strong news flow from Defence Therapeutics continues. Morphosys plans to present the potential of its oncology pipeline in early June. Evotec maintains its full-year guidance.

    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

    Stefan Feulner

    The native Franconian has more than 20 years of stock exchange experience and a broadly diversified network.
    He is passionate about analyzing a wide variety of business models and investigating new trends.

    About the author

    Related comments:

    Commented by Fabian Lorenz on April 23rd, 2024 | 07:00 CEST

    TAKEOVER FEVER for biotech shares! Evotec, Bayer, Vidac Pharma - Who will follow Morphosys?

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    There is takeover fever in the biotech sector. Genmab recently announced the acquisition of ProfoundBio, the US biotech company developing ovarian and endometrial cancer drugs, for USD 1.8 billion. With Morphosys, the takeover carousel is also turning in Germany. Who is the next candidate? Evotec is often mentioned. Due to unauthorized insider trading, the biotech company's shares have come under fire this year and offer an interesting entry opportunity. Vidac Pharma also impresses operationally. The Company's new approach has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment. The study results of the past few months are very promising. Bayer shares surprised investors yesterday as one of the day's winners in the DAX. Is the Leverkusen-based company's stock about to take off?


    Commented by Juliane Zielonka on April 22nd, 2024 | 07:00 CEST

    Cardiol Therapeutics, Bayer AG, Fresenius - Who will be the trendsetter in tomorrow's healthcare market?

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    The healthcare sector is a lucrative segment for risk-conscious investors. The global healthcare services market size is expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.96% by 2028. Understanding local healthcare needs is the basis for the growth of companies such as Cardiol Therapeutics, Bayer and Fresenius. Cardiol Therapeutics is a promising life sciences company researching several heart diseases with a focus on heart health and developing suitable medication. A disease such as heart failure (HF), for example, affects 26 million people worldwide and offers high scaling potential for the Canadian researchers and developers at Cardiol. Bayer also recognizes the market potential and would like to supply this target group with a gene therapy via Fast Track. Fresenius is familiar with market conditions due to expiring patent protection and is launching a lucrative biosimilar in the US. Which of these three companies will set the trend in the healthcare market of the future?


    Commented by Stefan Feulner on April 16th, 2024 | 07:40 CEST

    Formycon, Defence Therapeutics, Morphosys - Significant movement in the biotech sector

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    At the moment, investors are focusing on gold and Bitcoin in addition to the most important indices, like the DAX and Dow Jones. Meanwhile, the biotechnology sector is barely mentioned in the local newspapers. However, the market is on the move, and the wave of takeovers continues unabated. Recently, the Danish pharmaceutical company Genmab announced it was acquiring the private biotech company ProfoundBio for USD 1.8 billion in cash. The acquisition is intended to help deepen the cancer pipeline with next-generation antibody-drug conjugate therapies. Big Pharma is likely to make further acquisitions in this area in the near future.