COVID-19 adds $9bn to top four ASX health stocks
Health & Biotech
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That COVID-19 has been wonderful for pharmaceutical companies is not in doubt, but it hasn’t been quite so good for Australian health businesses.
The market capitalisation of the world’s six most COVID-19-aligned pharma companies rose by $US51.1bn ($74.4bn) since the start of 2020, according to data collated by AksjeBloggen, a Norwegian private finance blog.
Gilead Sciences, the company which owns antiviral medication that has been shown to help recovery from advanced COVID-19, jumped the most with a market cap increase of $US15.67bn between January and June.
Vaccine hopeful Moderna, British multinational Astrazeneca, Roche, Sanofi and BioNTech round out the top six movers.
The largest ‘COVID-19-aligned’ health companies are arguably CSL (ASX:CSL), respiratory device company ResMed (ASX:RMD), infection control business Nanosonics (ASX:NAN), and stem cell biotech Mesoblast (ASX:MSB).
They have added $9.2bn to their collective market capitalisation since the start of the year.
CSL’s market capitalisation is up 4 per cent or $5.4bn. CSL will manufacture any vaccine that comes out of the University of Queensland candidate, and is developing a plasma-based treatment for patients with advanced COVID-19.
ResMed, which shifted quickly to making ventilators early in the pandemic, is up 8 per cent or $2.6bn.
Nanosonics is up 10 per cent or $193m.
Morgans analyst Scott Power says Nanosonics has a strong thematic over the next decade of infection control.
Its trophon technology is used globally for ultrasound disinfection but the company is also working on products in instrument clearing and disinfection, environmental decontamination and digitally-enabled tools to increase visibility and control around infection risk mitigation.
And Mesoblast, which is trialing its stem cell treatment on COVID-19 sufferers in the US, rose 92 per cent or $1bn.
Initial results from the phase 2 trial at the end of May for inflammatory lung disease, a key compilation of COVID-19, showed its remestemcel-L treatment improved moderate to severe lung disease.
Significant improvements were observed in forced expiratory volume, forced vital capacity, and the distance walked in the six-minute walk test.