The ASX 200 Health Index (XHJ) has dropped by almost 5% at the time of writing, compared to the broader index which is down by 0.20%.

Healthcare giant and blood specialist, CSL (ASX:CSL), which makes up a large part of the ASX Healthcare index, is dragging the sector down after falling 8% this morning.

CSL has just completed a $6.3bn cap raise for the acquisition of Swiss’ Vifor Pharma.

Yesterday, CSL said it was buying out Vifor Pharma in an all-cash offer of US$179.25 a share or US$11.7bn, which it said would be funded by new placements, debt, and existing cash. 

Today’s cap raise was CSL’s first in years, and it’s received very strong support from exisiting and new institutional investors.

CSL said earlier that Vifor Pharma was a good fit as the Swiss company owns licences to various iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia therapies.

Meanwhile, IDT Australia (ASX:IDT) is down by more than 30% today, after its proposal to establish an onshore mRNA manufacturing facility in Australia was rejected by the government.

However, the company says that its MMI Collaboration Stream Grant Application remains live, and is unaffected by the outcome of the mRNA application.

The $800 million MMI Collaboration Stream Grant is a government initiative which funds large projects that help Australian manufacturing businesses collaborate, innovate and build economies of scale.


CSL and IDT share prices today:



In other ASX health news this morning

UK-based telehealth company, Doctor Care Anywhere (ASX:DOC), is up 10% after revealing a new operating model for patients, moving from a 20-minute virtual GP consultations to a set of multiple options.

Depending on the needs, patients using its telehealth services can now choose between a 15-20 minute virtual GP consultation, a 20-minute virtual consultation with a nurse, or a “QuickConsult” where a patient completes a questionnaire to be reviewed later by a prescribing clinician.

The company says the new model will allow DOC to better meet the challenge of clinical workforce shortages and ever-increasing healthcare demand.

Separately, DOC says that as part of its continuing negotiations with insurance partner AXA, it has entered into a variation of its Master Services Agreement which will result in improved margins and profitability commencing in 4Q 2021.

Medtech company, Proteomics (ASX:PIQ), won a $409k pharmacokinetic testing contract with Linear Clinical Research.

Pharmacokinetics is the study of what happens to drugs once they are inside the body, including the rate at which they are absorbed, distributed, metabolised and excreted.

Under the deal, PIQ will test a novel drug for degenerative and inflammatory diseases on behalf of Linear, the Australian arm of pharmaceutical company Sironax.

The study is part of a Phase I clinical trial examining the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of the drug, and will be undertaken over the next 12 months.

Immuno-oncology specialist, Immutep (ASX:IMM), signed a deal with Northway Biotech to manufacture IMP761 tablets ahead of its clinical testing.

IMP761 is Immutep’s preclinical candidate that has the potential to address the root cause of autoimmune diseases by silencing the T-cells accumulating at the disease site.

Cannabis company, Zelira Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD), has expanded into the growing New Zealand cannabinoid-based medicines market, after signing an exclusive distribution agreement with NUBU Pharmaceuticals.

Under the five-year deal, NUBU will purchase a minimum order totalling over $2.6 million (with $178k in the first year).

On a less positive note, Anatara Lifesciences (ASX:ANR) says progress is slower than expected in its clinical trials of psychological functioning and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) diseases.

The company says both trials are about a month behind due to the Christmas break.

The IBS-D trial is a 12-week study of its lead drug GaRP, treating adults aged 18 to 65 who have IBS-D and no history of inflammatory immune-mediated gastrointestinal disorder.


Other share prices today: