Healthcare and life sciences expert Scott Power, who has been a senior analyst with Morgans Financial for 24 years, explains what the movers and shakers have been doing in health and gives his ASX powerplays.

“It’s been a busy week,” Scott Power says. “Basically, this week has been all about AGMs (annual general meetings) and quarterly results, and there’s been coming thick and fast – like a waterfall of information, hitting us each day.”

Amplia Therapeutics (ASX:ATX) announced its phase 1 trial dosing healthy volunteers with its focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor drug AMP945, a possible treatment for fibrotic cancers.

CSL (ASX:CSL) held its annual R&D investor day, saying it was looking to restart a phase 3 study on a possible treatment to prevent secondary heart attacks. The clinical trial had been interrupted by the pandemic.

Eye treatment biotech Opthea (ASX:OPT) held an IPO in the United States to dual list on the NASDAQ, raising $US128.2 million.

“I think it’s a little less than what they were hoping for initially, so their share price has come under some pressure,” Power said.

Opthea shares were trading for $2.34 late on Friday afternoon, down from over $3 earlier this month.

Respiratory disease smartphone app developer ResApp (ASX:RAP) announced that AstraZeneca was going to use its software in a clinical trial. It also announced it has agreed with HealthEngine to integrate HealthEngine’s booking engine into its SleepCheck app.

“There doesn’t seem to be too much newsflow over the next coming months, but they appear to be ramping up,” Power said.

“I think we’re going to put that very high on our radar screen.”

Morgans has ResApp listed as a “speculative buy” with a price target of 24c – up from 12c on Friday.

Mouthguard company SomnoMed (ASX:SOM) released its first-quarter earnings figures and they showed signs of recovery, Power says.

“What they’ve indicated is that the momentum is building,” he said.

Morgans has raised its price target on the company to $2.55, from $2.02. Its stock was trading on Friday at $2.21.

Capital raisings continued apace, with cell-penetrating peptide company PYC Therapeutics (ASX:PYC) raising $35.2 million from institutional investors for drug development; Anatara (ASX:ANR) raising $1.7 million from an institutional placement to fund a trial of its possible irritable bowel syndrome treatment; and Proteomics International (ASX:PIQ) raising $6 million to develop its low-cost blood test for diabetic kidney disease.

“That trend of investors being quite excited about backing some of these emerging health care plays, that trend is continuing,” Power said.

Days until US election

Power expects that markets will continue to be volatile heading into the November 3 US election.

“We don’t see health care being affected any differently than any other US-facing stocks,” he said.

Joe Biden is backing higher taxes, but Donald Trump wants to keep pharmaceutical prices down, Power said.


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