Healthcare Roundup – Stocks recover after WHO explains new virus cases, Happiness Biotech up 18% on coronavirus outbreak-stoked demand

Published on: February 13, 2020
Author: Amy Liu

Stocks recover after WHO explains new virus cases

  • U.S. stocks erase most of their earlier losses after the World Health Organization says that the spike in coronavirus cases reported by China aren’t all new cases of the disease.
  • Nasdaq and S&P 500 are roughly flat, and the Dow pares its loss to -0.2% vs. -0.7% earlier.
  • 10-year Treasury yield slips 1 basis point to 1.61%.
  • The spike in new Covid-19 cases reflects more of a change in how China is reporting them and doesn’t represent “a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Program.
  • Traditionally defensive sectors real estate (+0.6%) and utilities (+0.5%) are outperforming S&P 500 industry sectors, while industrials (-0.4%) and energy (-0.4%) trail the broader market.
  • Crude oil rises 0.8% to $51.57 per barrel; gold +0.5% to $1,579.10 per ounce.
  • In European markets, the Stoxx Europe 600 and Germany’s DAX ended the session roughly flat; the U.K.’s FTSE 100 closed down 1.1% after the U.K. Treasury chief quit; France’s CAC 40 fell 0.2%.
  • The U.S. Dollar Index is little changed at 99.08.

Happiness Biotech up 18% on coronavirus outbreak-stoked demand

  • Nanping, China-based Happiness Biotech (HAPP +18%) is up on more than triple normal volume, albeit on turnover of only 259K shares, on the heels of its announcement that it is experiencing a “dramatic increase” in demand for its immune system-boosting products in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • It has also donated RMB1 million of product to Shunchang General Hospital

Coronavirus death toll jumps in China

  • Reuters reports that the COVID-19 death toll in China spiked to 1,367 yesterday compared to 254 on Tuesday with a concomitant jump in confirmed infections (59,805 vs. 15,152) due to the use of computerized tomography (CT), a new approach. Previously, infections were confirmed via RNA tests.
  • The jump came a day after Chinese authorities reported the lowest number of new cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by Beijing’s senior medical advisor that the epidemic will end by April.
  • Asian stock markets are under pressure while gold and bonds have rallied.
  • 44 new cases have been detected on a Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan.
  • Hong Kong has extended its suspension of schools until at least March 16.

Aurora Cannabis results reflect continued headwinds; shares down 3%

  • Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) fiscal Q2 results:
  • Cannabis net revenue: $63.2M (-11% sequentially) excluding provisions due to continued market headwinds.
  • Canadian net medical cannabis revenue: $25.6M (flat); net consumer cannabis revenue, ex-provisions: $33.5M (+11% sequentially).
  • Production cost/gram: $0.88 (+4% sequentially), average net selling price of medical cannabis: $7.99 (flat), average net selling price of consumer cannabis: $4.76 (-10%), average net selling of wholesale bulk cannabis: $1.90 (-45%).
  • Kg produced: 30,691 (-26%), Kg sold: 9,501 (-24%).
  • Medical patient base: 90,307 (-1%).
  • Total net revenue: $56.0M (-26%).
  • Non-GAAP EBITDA loss: ($80.2M) (-102% sequentially).
  • Fiscal Q3 guidance: little to no sequ

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s liso-cel fast tracked in U.S. for large B-cell lymphoma

  • Under Priority Review status, the FDA accepts Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (NYSE:BMY) marketing application for lisocabtagene maraleucel (liso-cel), its autologous anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy with a defined composition of purified CD8+ and CD4+ CAR T cells for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma who have received at least two prior lines of therapy.
  • The agency’s action date is August 17.
  • Holders of BMY Contingent Value Rights (CVR) (NYSE:BMY.RT) may see a rally today. Yesterday’s close was $3.36. The CVR will pay $9.00 if the FDA approves liso-cel by year-end 2020, ozanimod by year-end 2020 and ide-cel (bb2121) by March 31, 2021.

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