Here’s how every ASX health stock has performed over the past year
Health & Biotech
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Health stocks generate less enthusiasm among investors than themes like battery metals or tech due to their slow pace, high risk and jargon-filled ASX announcements.
But a review of the share price performance of the ASX’s 150-odd health stocks over the past year shows the sector is doing pretty decently.
A Stockhead review of 156 health stocks (see table below) shows just under half have made 12-month gains including a few blockbusters such as cancer warrior Invion’s (ASX:IVX) 1700 per cent run.
The biotech was trading at a meagre 0.2 cents a year ago; the 18-bagger is now sitting at 3.6c:
Another cancer fighter, Patrys (ASX:PAB) is the only other health stock remotely close — a seven-bagger since this time last year with a 640 per cent rise to 3.7c.
Plenty of opportunities
John Hester, a senior healthcare analyst at Bell Potter, says risk can result in great reward when it comes to health stocks.
“We look at a lot of medical devices and drug developers that are outside the ASX100 and a lot of it is speculative and high risk,” Mr Hester told Stockhead.
“But these same companies can also deliver enormous returns over a short period of time.
>> Scroll down for a table showing how ASX-listed health stocks have performed over the past 12 months
“It’s companies who are looking at unmet needs in the medical space — examples include Mesoblast and Starpharma. Viralytics was a tremendous success story, it was a five or six-bagger and then was acquired by Merck.
“It’s a risky and difficult sector, you really need to rely on good advisors.
“But there are plenty of opportunities and if you miss one there’s another boat leaving shortly after.”
MedTech leads the pack
Of the top 20 performing health stocks in our table, six are using technology or making devices for patient care:
PolyNovo (ASX:PNV) makes biodegradable wound dressings for the treatment of burns, surgical wounds and negative-pressure wound therapy. Their flagship product, Novosorb, has been described as a “med-tech Swiss Army knife”.
Its shares are up 182 per cent year-on-year, trading at an intraday high today of 53.5c.
Respiri (ASX:RSH) is developing a digital wheeze detection and asthma measurement technology — a digital stethoscope. The $38 million company’s chief is Mario Gattino, formerly a senior executive at big pharma giant Pfizer. It’s up 177 per cent in the last 12 months, hitting an intraday high of 8.3c today.
Other big winners include respiratory disease digital disruptors ResApp Health (ASX:RAP) up 116 per cent; patient technology exports Jayex Healthcare (ASX:JHL) up 105 per cent; cancer fighter Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) up 95 per cent and imaging tech Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) up 69 per cent.
It’s no surprise medicinal cannabis stocks also feature among the best-performing healthcare stocks.
Cann Group (ASX:CAN) shares are up 171 per cent in the past year. The $378 million company undertook a mammoth $60 million raise late last year, accounting for a quarter of all money raised by pot stocks in the 2017-18 financial year.
Botanix Pharma (ASX:BOT) has been rapidly executing its clinical program, with its various cannabidiol-based skin care products undertaking in-human trials. The company’s shares have risen 105 per cent year-on-year, and traded at an intraday high of 10 cents today.
The Hydroponics Company (ASX:THC) has also had a good year, with its shares rocketing 71 per cent.
Who’s on the naughty list?
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing in the sector, with some 84 companies — more than half of the listed health stocks — trending down over the past year.
AirXpanders (ASX:AXP) is the company with the unfortunate title of worst-performed health stock over the past 12 months.
In early 2017 the company — which makes patient-controlled breast tissue expanders for women who’ve had mastectomies — was considered one of the darlings of the medtech sector. But a series of bad news stories involving staff cuts, missed sales and the exit of its chief executive sent the stock careering in the wrong direction.
Shares in the $39 million company are down 88 per cent, trading at an intraday low of 7.6c, a long way from its August 2017 height of 62.8c.
There are few prevailing themes in the bottom 20 performers, although two of the bottom three – Skin Elements (ASX:SKN) and Traditional Therapies (ASX:TTC) both work in the ‘wellness’ space. Their shares were down 81 and 80 per cent respectively.
>> Here’s a table showing how ASX-listed health stocks have performed over the past 12 and six months: