Report From J.P.Morgan Healthcare Conference 2021: Current Portfolio Positions #1

 

Focus is Coronavirus diagnostics and vaccines.

Gene therapy is poised for next wave:

The Conference boosted many stocks as you might expect in a bull market for biotech. We reviewed rather quickly some of the presentations from the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference (JPM) and will comment on specific companies and stocks in a series of posts. Overall the coverage was excellent for all companies in the sector and in some ways better than a live presentation  because of slides and ability to focus. Of course the personal interactivity was missing. We hope to go back and review specific names assuming the sessions are still posted. Overall the market reaction was upbeat but since the sector has already moved substantially in 2020  the momentum eased. And despite all the distractions this week from politics and COVID stocks are up.

The market continues to look forward to a 2022 “wind down” of the coronavirus pandemic and a return to a growing economy. Even with gridlock a stimulus is expected to be approved by Congress. COVID vaccines are the major factor for a “return to normal”. IBB (IBB) at $158, XBI (XBI) at $148 both near new highs.

Here are some initial comments on stocks we already own.

Abbvie (ABBV) broke $110 today and made some nice moves off Q4 bottom up to new highs since we commented and added to it in November 2020.  Here is the presentation which focused on Abbvie’s strong pipeline in immunology, hematology, neuroscience and now the Allergan acquisition into aesthetics. High dividend of 4.2% with good value on FWD PE and P/S.

Our other large cap holdings held ground with Bristol Myers (BMY) showing a nice gain to the $64 handle on pipeline potential in the autoimmune disease area. It is a core holding and pays 3%.Merck (MRK) is also a core holding and div pays 3%. MRK received approval of a BLA application for its pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.

Diagnostics market leader Abbott Labs (ABT) has lagged the skyrocketing COVID testing stocks but perked up a bit today toward new flattish highs after their presentation. The Company will be ramping up and distributing their BinaxNOW 5 minute Rapid COVID-19 test. Our top pick from last year you know well Genmark Diagnostics (GNMK) is lagging a bit after 4x gains in 2020. Preliminary financial results showed a 95% in total revenue in 2020 over 2019 primarily from the ePlex diagnostic platform. Hologic (HOLX) moved to new highs briefly and preliminary Q1 results of $1.6B. Sales of 30 M COVID-19 tests were a major impact on results and diagnostics are 30% of sales.

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Disclosure: None.

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Roger Keats 5 days ago Member's comment

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