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May 7th, 2024 | 07:00 CEST

Novo Nordisk, Cardiol Therapeutics, Pfizer - Pharma Watchlist: Three top innovators

  • Biotechnology
  • Pharma
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In the rapidly evolving world of biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, a single drug can make all the difference, especially when these drugs are unique. They have the potential to change the entire sector by setting new standards in therapy, addressing unmet medical needs, and ultimately improving the quality of life of countless patients worldwide. These drugs are often called blockbusters and generate revenue of more than USD 1 billion. Innovation often also means creating a moat against the competition. Today, we take a look at three companies that are pursuing unique approaches.

time to read: 4 minutes | Author: Armin Schulz
ISIN: NOVO NORDISK A/S | DK0062498333 , CARDIOL THERAPEUTICS | CA14161Y2006 , PFIZER INC. DL-_05 | US7170811035

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


    Novo Nordisk - Diabetes care as the moat

    Novo Nordisk, a giant in diabetes care, has been a world leader in this field for decades thanks to its pioneering spirit. Through extensive investment in research and development, the Company has continuously succeeded in staying one step ahead of the competition. A broad range of products and global presence is just part of what makes Novo Nordisk the first choice for patients and physicians worldwide. Regulatory hurdles and extensive drug patents also form a significant barrier for potential competitors, protecting the Company from new entrants.

    With FDA approval for Wegovy®, a further development of the active ingredient semaglutide, Novo Nordisk is significantly strengthening its position in the weight loss treatment market. Despite production bottlenecks due to high demand, Wegovy® is already off to a strong sales start. Novo Nordisk is benefiting from an extended label approval that enables Medicare coverage, opening up enormous potential for patients with increased cardiovascular risk. The expansion of the scope of application of these drugs gives the Company an advantage over the competition in the lucrative market for obesity and weight management therapeutics.

    In Q1, the Company achieved impressive revenue growth of 22% to DKK 65.35 billion and a 27% increase in operating profit to DKK 31.8 billion. Despite its success, Novo Nordisk faces challenges, including legal scrutiny and increasing competition. A critical review by the FTC regarding patent listings could affect future revenues, while competitors such as Eli Lilly are challenging the market share. Investors should also be critical of the valuation, which is pricing in high growth expectations, and keep an eye on the changing regulatory landscape. The share price plummeted following the announcement of the patent lists. The share is currently trading at EUR 114.76.

    Cardiol Therapeutics - Revolutionary treatment concepts

    Cardiol Therapeutics is focusing on its pioneering drug CardiolRx™ for the treatment of heart disease. The groundbreaking approach, which inhibits inflammatory processes, stands out from conventional methods. Inflammation plays a central role in the development and progression of many heart conditions. The Company's focus is not just on treating symptoms but on offering the first treatment option that addresses the root of the problem. This has the potential to fundamentally change the treatment of multiple heart diseases, including rare ones such as recurrent pericarditis and acute myocarditis.

    The FDA's recognition by granting orphan drug designation to CardiolRx™ underscores its transformative capabilities, particularly in previously neglected diseases. In addition, Cardiol Therapeutics is exploring the potential use of CRD-38 in the treatment of heart failure, a leading cause of mortality globally. Encouraging preliminary results suggest that targeted inhibition of inflammation may be critical to improving therapy. The market is significantly larger. Approximately 6 million Americans are currently living with a diagnosis of heart failure. The total cost to the healthcare system was more than USD 30 billion and is expected to rise significantly by 2030.

    The share could receive its next boost this quarter, as the MAvERIC-Pilot study, which is currently in clinical phase II, completed patient recruitment on February 21 and expects the first results by the end of June. The second clinical Phase II study, ARCHER, has also completed more than 50% of patient recruitment since the beginning of January. Further news could also be on the horizon here. Since the start of the year, the share price has risen by over 160%. The high for the year was USD 2.17 on the NASDAQ. Since then, the share has been consolidating and is currently trading at USD 1.79.

    Pfizer - Stability and growth beyond COVID-19

    Pfizer made a solid start to the year in Q1 2024, supported by the continued development of its key products. Despite the challenges posed by the slowing business with COVID-19 drugs such as Comirnaty and Paxlovid and an operating sales decline of 19% year-on-year, Pfizer showed resilience. Away from its blockbuster, the Company recorded an operating sales increase of 11%. In addition, reported earnings per share of USD 0.55 and adjusted earnings per share of USD 0.82 were achieved.

    Pfizer's executives were positive about the first quarter's performance. In particular, the non-COVID-19 product portfolio, which includes new launches and established brands such as the Vyndaqel family, Eliquis and the Prevnar portfolio, showed a solid performance. CFO David Denton emphasized the Company's continued commitment to cost reduction and confirmed it is on track to deliver at least USD 4 billion in savings by the end of 2024.

    Pfizer reaffirms its full-year 2024 guidance of revenues between USD 58.5 billion and USD 61.5 billion and raises its adjusted earnings per share guidance to USD 2.15 to USD 2.35. Market observers see considerable upside potential in Pfizer's share price. Despite competition from copycat products and typical industry challenges such as patent expirations, analysts expect Pfizer to strengthen its market position through innovative products and strategic investments. The dividend yield of over 6.5% and the comparatively attractive valuation make the share appear favorable. The share is currently trading at USD 27.93.

    If a company succeeds in solving a specific problem for sick people, it often creates a blockbuster. This prospect of high profits drives research and development forward. Novo Nordisk has created a blockbuster in the diabetes business. It then succeeded in developing the weight loss injection. Cardiol Therapeutics focuses on heart disease and is breaking new ground in therapy. There are currently two Phase II studies, and the results for the MAvERIC-Pilot study are pending. These could pave the way for a Phase III study. With Comirnaty, Pfizer has had a blockbuster in recent years. While revenues have declined there, the Company still has a broad product portfolio.

    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

    Armin Schulz

    Born in Mönchengladbach, he studied business administration in the Netherlands. In the course of his studies he came into contact with the stock exchange for the first time. He has more than 25 years of experience in stock market business.

    About the author

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