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  • Jonathan Poyer

Biotech Headlines Abound as the Sector Continues its Up and Down Ride






The S&P Select Biotech Index seems to be consolidating gains following the "fed pivot" rally that propelled the index from deep red to green for 2023.



Following half a decade of consecutive outperformance from 2011-2015, biotech has underperformed the Nasdaq from 2016-2023 for 8 years and the S&P 500 for 5 of those 8 years.



Expectations for lower interest rates in 2024, sustained biotech M&A activity, continued new approvals of cutting-edge new therapies and resurgent capital markets activity appear to be converging to reverse biotech’s record relative underperformance. Specialists will be monitoring election year policy debates and earnings announcements for potential breaks in bullish sentiment.


Notable headlines and events:


  • Biotech IPOs are back with two deals pricing last week, raising >$500M in aggregate with one rising ~100% on the first day of trading and the other nearly 20% (The First IPOs of 2024 Come Through Raising over $600M. And Both Traded Up After the News!!!! (alphawatch.blog))

  • M&A has been relatively quiet since the JPM healthcare conference. Sanofi (SNY) announced the acquisition of Inhibrx (INBX) for an upfront equity value of $1.7B plus a contingent value right (CVR) of $5.0 and 0.25 shares of a new publicly traded company that will retain INBX's non-INBRX-101 assets ("New Inhibrx"). Interestingly, the $30/share in upfront cash was a >10% discount to the prior close for the stock

  • M&A speculation continued with articles published last week talking up potential deals for both Dyne Therapeutics (DYNE) and Morphosys (MOR). Bloomberg reported DYNE was evaluating inbound interest and Betaville called out potential interest for Morphosys. Limited details provided (name of interested suitor, terms, timing) suggested the rumors may not be substantiated

  • EU regulators reminded investors the bar for market access might be higher than some companies think. Apellis Pharmaceuticals (APLS) received a negative CHMP Opinion for Pegcetacoplan for geographic atrophy (GA) and PTC Therapeutics (PTCT) disclosed CHMP issued a negative opinion for renewal of Conditional Marketing Authorization for Translarna (ataluren) following a re-examination procedure

  • Humana (HUM) earnings shocked the street following an earlier preannounced warning. HUM withdrew a prior $37 adjusted EPS guide for 2025 and provided 2024 adjusted EPS guide of $16 with the potential for $6-10 improvement in 2025

  • Reductions in force (RIF) continued in January with announcements from Affimed (AFMD, 50% RIF), Allakos (ALLK, 50% RIF), C4 therapeutics (CCCC, 20% RIF), Exelixis (EXEL 13% RIF), Medavail Holdings (MDVL, 40% RIF)

  • Aravive (ARAV) to be delisted from the NASDAQ based upon ownership of its shares by fewer than 300 holders of record



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