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November 21st, 2023 | 07:00 CET

Novo Nordisk, Defence Therapeutics, Morphosys - The biotechs are coming

  • Biotechnology
  • Pharma
  • Innovations
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The capital-intensive biotech sector was hit particularly hard when the US Federal Reserve began the massive interest rate hikes from zero to 5.5% in the first quarter of 2022. Since then, the broad-based Nasdaq Biotech Index has lost around 20% of its value. With the end of the strict monetary policy, this sector is now likely to experience a revival on the stock market. There is significant catching-up potential, especially among second-tier stocks.

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


    Morphosys - A week to forget

    After a recovery rally lasting around half a year with annual highs of EUR 32.50, Morphosys shareholders have been brought back down to earth in recent trading days. The shares of the biotech company from Martinsried near Munich have lost over 30% within the last six trading days and are currently trading at EUR 22.08.

    The reason for this renewed misery was the publication of weak figures for the third quarter. Sales with the promising Monjuvi even fell to EUR 21.9 million compared to the same period of the previous year. At the end of the third quarter 2022, revenue was still EUR 21.9 million. Total sales fell from EUR 95.8 million to EUR 63.8 million**. In contrast, the operating loss soared from minus EUR 29.3 million to EUR 51 million. Cash and cash equivalents totaled EUR 642.2 million at the end of September from EUR 907.2 million in the same period of the previous year.

    The focus is now on the beginning of December. Morphosys intends to present the data for Phase III of the drug Pelabresib earlier than expected. If these results are positive, the Morphosys share price could turn around quickly. However, speculating on the event is like playing roulette.

    The Swiss UBS even raised its price target for the Company from EUR 45 to EUR 47. For the antibody specialist, everything revolves around the hopeful Pelabresib. The verdict is "Buy".

    Defense Therapeutics - Another milestone

    The CEO of Defence Therapeutics, Sebastien Plouffe, considers the submission of an application for approval of an Investigational New Drug to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a significant milestone in the journey of AccuTOX® towards clinical application. AccuTOX® is an injectable anti-cancer molecule for the treatment of newly formed tumors. According to Precedence Research, the global market for cancer therapeutics is expected to reach USD 393.61 billion by 2032, growing at an annual rate of 9.20%.

    The application includes data, reports and summaries from several studies to evaluate the effect, the course of drug concentration in the organism and possible interactions, both on living organisms and in artificial environments. Defence Therapeutics is expected to commence its Phase I clinical trial once the regulatory authorities have reviewed the data. The Canadians expect to begin in the first to second quarter of next year.

    The foundation for AccuTOX® is based on ACCUM® technology, which enables accurate delivery of vaccine antigens or ADCs in intact form to target cells, which is expected to result in improved efficacy and effectiveness against serious diseases such as cancer and infectious diseases.

    Defence Therapeutics' shares have performed unchanged since the beginning of the year and are currently trading at CAD 2.80. With the prospect of the green light from the FDA for the start of the trial, the share price could also move significantly into the green zone in the coming months.

    Novo Nordisk - The boom continues

    The situation at Europe's currently most valuable company is entirely different to Morphosys. The share price of the Danish company, which has a market capitalization of USD 345.25 billion, has risen by around 50% to USD 101.39 since the beginning of the year and is currently trading near its all-time high at USD 104.00.

    The reason for the outperformance was undoubtedly Novo Nordisk's blockbuster, Wegovy®. The obesity drug with the active ingredient semaglutide was actually developed to treat diabetes, but is now an absolute hit when it comes to weight loss. The latest study data shows that the wonder drug also prevents cardiovascular disease.

    The diabetes drug Ozempic, developed by Novo Nordisk, contains the same active ingredient as Wegovy®. As this is also used for weight loss and demand is so high because Ozempic® is significantly cheaper than the weight loss injection Wegovy®, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices is considering an export ban.

    "We know that some of the syringes supplied to Germany for our diabetes patients are being exported to other European countries or the USA," BfArM President Karl Broich told Der Spiegel. "We need the drug for the care of diabetes patients and not as a lifestyle drug."

    Morphosys shares fell significantly after the publication of the figures. However, investors are eagerly awaiting Phase III data for the drug pelabresib. Demand for Novo Nordisk's weight-loss drugs shows no sign of abating. Defence Therapeutics reached a new milestone by submitting an IND application to the FDA.

    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

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