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December 7th, 2023 | 07:00 CET

New developments in the healthcare market: Cardiol Therapeutics, Amazon and Bayer shares in focus

  • Biotechnology
  • Pharma
  • Healthcare
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Cardiol Therapeutics, a clinical-stage life sciences company focusing on therapies for heart inflammation, has secured a renowned clinic to advance its Phase II MAvERIC-Pilot study. This study, focused on combating recurrent pericarditis, promises to provide sound approaches to improve the quality of life of affected patients. Amazon has been dabbling in the healthcare sector since 2015 and is gradually conquering the telemedicine market. The path to telemedicine for Prime members, through the acquisition of companies such as "One Medical" and "PillPack", poses challenges. In contrast, Bayer is once again caught in the crossfire of legal disputes. The recent glyphosate trial loss before a jury in Philadelphia calls for a strategic realignment. At the same time, Bayer is attempting to provide new impetus in the area of women's health through a partnership in the field of hormonal contraception. Find out which development holds promise here.

time to read: 6 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


    Cardiol Therapeutics secures renowned clinic for Phase II study in recurrent pericarditis

    Inflammation of the heart in young individuals has gained prominence since the advent of Corona and the disclosed side effects of COVID-19 vaccines that have become known to the Population.

    It can lead to inflammation of the pericardium, which significantly reduces the quality of life of those affected. Patients may have several relapses and suffer from painful chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. If pericarditis is not recognized and treated in time, it can recur, for example, due to a viral infection.

    The only therapy approved by the FDA in the US in 2021 to relieve recurrent pericarditis is expensive and is used primarily as a later measure. Initially, treatment involves anti-inflammatory NSAIDs, often with moderate success.

    Cardiol Therapeutics has now secured another renowned clinic to enrol affected patients with recurrent pericarditis in its clinical study. The Phase II open-label pilot study is investigating the safety, tolerability and efficacy of CardiolRx™ in patients with recurrent pericarditis.

    "Mass General has been consistently ranked as a top hospital in the US and has the largest hospital-based research program in the country. We look forward to the support of Mass General's clinicians and participating patients towards reaching full enrollment in this groundbreaking study," commented Dr. Andrew Hamer, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Research and Development for Cardiol Therapeutics.

    Each year, approximately 38,000 patients in the US seek treatment for recurrent pericarditis, often resulting in 6-8 day hospital stays and estimated costs of USD 20,000 to USD 30,000 per stay. For most Americans, this level of expenditure is considered existence-threatening.

    The MAvERIC-Pilot is enrolling 25 patients at eight leading medical research centers in the United States that specialize in treating pericarditis. The study recently reached more than 50% of its enrollment goal and is expected to complete enrollment of patients in the first quarter of 2024.

    Cardiol Therapeutics intends to obtain orphan drug approval for CardiolRx™. The orphan drug market is valued at USD 156.97 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to USD 368.43 billion by 2030. The orphan drug market is currently growing at a CAGR of 11.6%.

    Amazon's healthcare odyssey - The long road to telemedicine for Prime Members

    Tech companies have succeeded in rapidly growing businesses, reimagining supply chains, and radically transforming well-established verticals. Amazon, which once started out as an online book retailer, is now active in numerous retail businesses. The Seattle-based giant is also trying its hand at the healthcare market from time to time.

    In the usual Silicon Valley manner, things are done quickly, according to the trial and error principle and corrected. But healthcare works differently. It is a regulated market that moves forward extremely cautiously due to the mechanisms used on humans and animals. More evidence rather than innovation.

    In retrospect, it is therefore not surprising that Amazon is rolling out its offering specifically to loyal Amazon Prime customers with two acquired companies, the telemedicine service "One Medical" and a pharmacy delivery service "PillPack".

    Valuable key figures in fundamental analysis include qualitative factors such as management, dealing with employees, dealing with mistakes and honest communication with shareholders.

    According to Bloomberg, current and former employees report a culture of hubris at Amazon, characterized by the belief that inventions from Silicon Valley could outsmart established companies. Amazon often ceded control to managers without healthcare experience and ignored advice from industry experts. Strategy debates dragged on for years, allowing innovations like online doctor visits and fast drug delivery to become widespread before Amazon eventually introduced them.

    Amazon CEO Andy Jassy tells investors that the healthcare industry is one of the Company's biggest long-term investments. The Company is expected to generate more than USD 500 billion in annual sales in this segment. Amazon has been involved in the healthcare sector since 2015.

    According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, the size of the US telemedicine market is USD 38.04 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.1%. The increasing need for virtual care in the US to manage chronic diseases is driving the market growth. The COVID-19 pandemic has positively impacted the growth of the US telehealth market due to the increased utilization of telehealth services by patients. However, the market has several challenges, such as low awareness about telehealth, the need for additional training for healthcare providers, and demand for improved reimbursement policies. Teladoc Health, Inc., Amwell Inc., MDLIVE, Hims & Hers Health, Inc. and Healthpeak are among the leading companies in the US telehealth market.

    Bayer in the crossfire: 5th glyphosate lawsuit loss in the US - Can Healthcare bring balance?

    Bayer has suffered another defeat. This week, the Leverkusen-based company was ordered by a jury in the US city of Philadelphia to pay around USD 3.5 million in damages. The weedkiller Roundup™ is alleged to have caused cancer in a woman. This marks the fifth consecutive legal defeat for Bayer, albeit with a smaller fine compared to previous verdicts of over USD 2 billion. But what carries more weight is the allegation that the herbicide glyphosate caused cancer in the plaintiff.

    Investors are pushing to settle lawsuits quickly to avoid heavy losses. Bayer AG's management team announced in early November that it would carefully consider settlement options in the Roundup™ cases. In a conference call in late November, the Company reassured investors and emphasized that sufficient reserves of approximately USD 6.5 billion are available to deal with the litigation.

    Around 165,000 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer by individuals claiming to have suffered personal injuries from the weedkiller Roundup™, which the Company acquired in 2016 with the purchase of Monsanto.

    In this context, the announcement from the Healthcare division that it is targeting further gains through a new partnership in the field of women's health is downright sobering. Bayer has been involved in the business of hormonal IUDs for teenagers and women for years. The 'intrauterine devices', or IUDs for short, are small plastic coils containing an artificial luteal hormone. The hormone IUDs are implanted directly into the woman's uterus. They remain there and provide contraception for several years. Previously, partial or general anaesthesia was required for insertion. The partnership with the provider 'CrossBay' is set to address this. Their technology enables the IUD to be inserted without anaesthesia. What sounds pragmatic at first glance, especially for gynaecologists who can make additional business more quickly, also requires a second look.

    So far, more than 1,000 patients have sued Bayer in the US due to the side effects of the IUD. Plaintiffs blame the contraceptive for organ perforation and pressure buildup in the skull. The Company has offered to settle some perforation lawsuits for USD 12.2 million. Although the lawsuits have been discontinued since 2022, the long-term effects of the IUD on the female body remain to be seen.

    Cardiol Therapeutics stands out as it is making promising progress with its medical and scientific accuracy and focus on the research and treatment of recurrent pericarditis. The Company's Phase II open-label pilot study, supported by renowned hospitals like Mass General, holds potential for innovative therapeutic approaches that could improve the quality of life of affected patients. Investors should analyze this Company more closely. Amazon, on the other hand, is characterized by its persistence in conquering the telemedicine market and making it accessible to Prime members in particular. The acquisition of companies such as "One Medical" and "PillPack" shows that the technology giant has a long-term focus on the healthcare sector. The lessons learned in recent years appear to be bearing fruit. For Bayer AG, the repeated glyphosate litigation losses are prompting a critical review of its future strategy. The latest partnership in the field of women's health indicates a desire to optimize existing business areas, but the crisis does not yet seem to be over.

    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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