DGAP-News: BB BIOTECH AG
/ Key word(s): Interim Report
Media release as at April 22, 2022
Interim report of BB Biotech AG as at March 31, 2022
Increased investment level balanced by established core holdings
Markets were subject to large swings in valuation during the first quarter of 2022. A broad sell-off during the first two months was followed by a strong rebound in March. The biotechnology sector came under more pressure than the MSCI World Health Care Index and retreated -11.7% versus -3.2% for the broader index (both figures in USD). As witnessed during previous down cycles, larger biotechnology companies with solid operating results and positive pipeline updates held up better than earlier stage companies. BB Biotech shares' total return for the first quarter was -11.3% in CHF and -8.6% in EUR. As a consequence of the general sector correction the investment level increased to 113.0% (previous quarter: 110.9%). This adequately reflects the management team's perspective of many biotech companies being attractively valued after the past twelve months of correction. Shareholders at the Annual General Meeting voted to enlarge the Board of Directors by electing Dr. Pearl Huang and Laura Hamill as new directors. A proposed dividend of CHF 3.85 per share was also approved.
For the first quarter 2022, BB Biotech shares' total return was -11.3% in CHF and -8.6% in EUR. Alongside benchmarks, and with slight appreciation of the USD versus the CHF and the EUR, the total return for the portfolio was -9.0% in CHF, -7.6% in EUR and -9.9% in USD. Consequently, the net loss for the first quarter of 2022 was CHF 300 mn compared to a net gain of CHF 221 mn for the same period in 2021. Commercial, more established and profitable companies in the portfolio such as Vertex, Neurocrine and Incyte reported positive share price developments in the first quarter. Ionis and Radius recovered from 2021 lows and Intra-Cellular Therapies shares appreciated due to the strong product uptake for Caplyta following the label expansion in bipolar disorder. Development stage oncology companies remained under pressure and volatility remained high for SARS-CoV-2 companies in the biotech universe. Being convinced in the long-term value proposition of mRNA technology and Moderna's strategy of monetizing that value, the investment team is bound to accept that Moderna as a core holding in the portfolio has been and may continue to be subject to industry high volatility.
Enlargement of the Board of Directors and dividend strategy continuity
First-quarter updates from BB Biotech portfolio holdings
A number of regulatory decisions concerning portfolio companies were announced during the first quarter of 2022. The FDA approved Moderna's COVID-19 Spikevax vaccine (mRNA-1273) for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 18 years and older. Under its EUA program, the FDA also approved a fourth shot, which is the 2nd booster shot, for mRNA-1273, at a 50 microgram dose. Agios reported on February 17 that the FDA had approved Pyrukynd (mitapivat) for the treatment of hemolytic anemia in adults with pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency, a rare, debilitating, lifelong hemolytic anemia. Pyrukynd is first approved disease-modifying therapy for this disease.
Argenx announced the approval of Vyvgart (efgartigimod) in Japan for the treatment of generalized myasthenia gravis, autoimmune, neuromuscular disease, shortly after receiving US FDA approval in December 2021. The company is continuing the global product launch, having started in early 2022 in the US followed by launching Vyvgart in Japan in summer. A European EMA decision is expected in late 2022.
Incyte reported that the US FDA had extended its review of the supplemental new drug application (sNDA) for its JAK inhibitor, Opzelura (ruxolitinib cream) for vitiligo, with the new PDUFA date set as July 18, 2022.
Outlook for the remainder of the year
Large biopharmaceutical firms have strong cash positions overall. These resources are one key perquisite for substantial M&A activities in the future.
In February 2022, Dr. Robert M. Califf was confirmed as FDA commissioner. Dr. Califf is recognized as an expert in clinical trial research, health disparities, healthcare quality, and cardiovascular medicine, and also served as the FDA commissioner under former President Barack Obama from February 2016 until January 2017. BB Biotech expects the FDA to continue its constructive, purposeful but moderating interactions with the biopharmaceutical industry under his leadership.
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22.04.2022 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.
|Company:||BB BIOTECH AG|
|Phone:||+41 52 624 08 45|
|Listed:||Regulated Market in Frankfurt (Prime Standard); Mailand, SIX|
|EQS News ID:||1332195|
|End of News||DGAP News Service|