Check Up: As Alzheimer’s grabs the spotlight, these ASX biotech stocks also impressed
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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Here’s our fortnightly wrap of all the news driving ASX health stocks.
The healthcare sector has returned 2.3 per cent for the last two weeks, compared to the broader market which rose by 2.7 per cent.
The biggest news globally was out of US pharma Biogen, which saw its shares soar after announcing the FDA had approved Aducanumab as the first treatment to attack a likely cause of Alzheimer’s.
It was the first Alzheimer’s drug approved by the FDA in almost two decades, but it wasn’t without controversy.
Dementia experts are still debating over whether the clinical trials evidence has proven that the drug works. There is also backlash over Biogen’s decision to price the drug at US$56,000 a year.
Coincidentally, Alzheimer’s is also drawing attention in Australia over the past week.
The share price of ASX-listed Actinogen (ASX:ACW) surged by 70 per cent in a just a fortnight, and was the best healthcare stock performer.
The company had announced the progression of its clinical development program to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It will now commence the first part of the XanaMIA study after receiving approval from the Bellberry Human Research Ethics Committee.
The trial is designed to study improvements in cognitive ability in older volunteers, and patients with mild impairment in the first clinical stage of Alzheimer’s.
In other industry news, American biotechnology company Novavax announced that it will make doses of its coronavirus vaccine here in Australia.
The company revealed that it’s currently searching for an Australian manufacturing partner.
The decision came after the Australian government ordered 51 million doses of Novavax’s coronavirius jabs. The product is still waiting for regulatory clearances in both the US and Australia.
Here’s a table showing how the rest of the ASX-listed healthcare stocks have been performing.
Cogstate (ASX:CGS) rose by 60 per cent in just one day, on the back of the Biogen news.
Invion (ASX:IVX) surged by over 50 per cent in the last two weeks, after presenting the initial proof-of-concept testing results on INV-043, the company’s latest Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) using the Photosoft technology.
Key findings from the study indicate that INV-043 has greater anti-cancer activity, and better cancer-targeting characteristics than previous generations of APIs developed by the company.
Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) rose by almost 20 per cent in the last fortnight after reporting that its lead drug, Veyonda, is set to benefit from a Novartis study that reported a median overall survival of 15.3 months for 177Lutetium-PSMA-617, versus 11.3 months for standard care.
That data is significant because Noxopharm’s own recent LuPIN trial data showed even stronger survival outcome when Lutetium-PSMA-617 is combined with Veyonda.
A notable IPO during the week was that of medical and scientific devices company, Trajan Group (ASX:TRJ). The company, which is chaired by former Wallabies rugby captain John Eales, had raised $90 million in the IPO at a price of $1.70 a share, for a $220m market cap. It closed at $1.98 on its first day of trading.