Pharma Outlook 2021: COVID-19, Oncology to Drive Sector

All eyes will be on the pharma space in 2021, as the sector is set to receive a boost from the ongoing rollout of COVID-19 treatments.

Click here to read the previous pharma outlook.

Last year brought revitalized interest and understanding to pharmaceutical investments thanks to the urgent need to combat the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As 2020 drew to a close, large funds moved toward the entire life science sector, offering much relief to the industry after the market crash seen in February and March.

The performance of the iShares US Pharmaceuticals ETF (ARCA:IHE) and the SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF (ARCA:XPH) indicates more general investor interest in the pharma space as well.

By the end of 2020, IHE had posted a 12.95 percent increase in value to close the year at US$179.44. For its part, XPH managed to reach a price tag of US$52.06 thanks to a 15.92 percent jump.

Moving forward in 2021, the pharma sector is looking to continue capitalizing on that attention as trial work slowly begins again and the market settles into established trends. The impact of a new incoming US president could also come into play in the development of the pharma investment landscape.

Here the Investing News Network (INN) looks ahead at what companies and insiders are expecting for the 2021 operating year in the pharmaceutical space.

Pharma outlook 2021: Oncology to lead the way for Big Pharma

In its 2021 market preview report, research firm Evaluate indicates that while many investors will be drawn to COVID-19 efforts, oncology will remain the biggest driver of pharmaceuticals.

The two biggest sales-generating drugs in 2021 are expected to be Keytruda, a cancer drug from Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK) that is expected to reach US$2.7 billion, and Dupixent, a drug for eczema and asthma by Sanofi (NASDAQ:SNY) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) at US$1.6 billion.

Of course, that’s not to say COVID-19 won’t have a key role. While the big names in pharma will continue to profit off of successful money-making drugs, Evaluate believes the overall the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines may end up determining which way pharma investments go in 2021.

“At the very least, signs that the pandemic is being brought under control are surely required,” it states.

Pharma outlook 2021: COVID-19 efforts highlight need for investment

The pharmaceutical market is enticing to investors given its direct correlation to medical benefits for patients. That urgency was galvanized in 2020 as the drug pipeline model came into the forefront for those looking to help boost the COVID-19 response cycle.

Support from investors is an effect that the market at-large will have to monitor heading into the new year. The Evaluate study highlights that this increase in support can be tracked via the recovery of the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (INDEXNASDAQ:NBI).

“The extent to which this support will be maintained in 2021 is a big unknown,” the report states.

Robert Foster, CEO of Hepion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:HEPA), told INN he is expecting to see a positive year for the entire sector, potentially with renewed interest in the market from investors.

He said the attention garnered by the development of COVID-19 vaccines was a key attention-grabbing event that has drawn new eyes to the entire life science space.

“COVID-19 has certainly taken the sector by storm, and it has been great to see life science companies the world over rise to the challenge of developing potential new treatments and a vaccine,” said Foster.

“As a lifelong industry participant, I’m thrilled to see the increased investor interest and awareness on the sector and the important role it plays in the health of populations around the world.”

Pharma outlook 2021: Drug pricing conversations may begin again

Early on during his term as president, Donald Trump routinely criticized the pharma industry for its drug pricing models and the overall costs of medicines.

Trump’s administration explored different methods of bringing down drug prices. However, real, effectible proposals were hard to come by.

In 2021, as Joe Biden begins his time in the White House, investors will want to keep an eye on the relationship the new administration develops with pharma makers.

“The emerging healthcare policies of the new Biden administration in the US will be another major focus for biopharma investors,” the Evaluate report explains.

For now, the pharma industry has started 2021 by continuing a longstanding tradition of hiking prices for prescription drugs. Recently, research firm 46brooklyn Research showed that over 500 drugs will become more expensive this year.

In a breakdown of the impact a Biden presidency may have for drug pricing in the US, health experts told Vox it is likely that no real reform will come into play during Biden’s term.

“You don’t have as fertile an environment for more extreme drug measures,” Walid Gellad, director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, said.

Pharma outlook 2021: Investor takeaway

As it stands, the pharma sector will be closely monitored based on the efficacy and rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines approved so far. More opportunities to aid in the end of the pandemic may become clearer and provide space for smaller companies to find research avenues.

Don’t forget to follow @INN_LifeScience for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

Featured
Merck known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics today provided an update on the MOVe-OUT study of molnupiravir an investigational oral antiviral medicine for COVID-19. Data are now available from all enrolled participants . In this study population, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death from 9.7% in the placebo group to 6.8% in the molnupiravir group, for an ...

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics today provided an update on the MOVe-OUT study of molnupiravir (MK-4482, EIDD-2801), an investigational oral antiviral medicine for COVID-19. Data are now available from all enrolled participants (n=1433). In this study population, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death from 9.7% in the placebo group (68/699) to 6.8% (48/709) in the molnupiravir group, for an absolute risk reduction of 3.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.1, 5.9; nominal p-value=0.0218) and a relative risk reduction of 30% (relative risk 0.70; 95% CI: 0.49, 0.99). Nine deaths were reported in the placebo group, and one in the molnupiravir group. The adverse event profile for molnupiravir remained consistent with the profile reported at the planned interim analysis.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211126005279/en/

read more Show less
Jamieson Wellness Inc. announced today the appointment of Tania M. Clarke, Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of New Look Vision Group Inc., to the Company’s Board of Directors. “I am very pleased to welcome Ms. Clarke to our Board of Directors,” said David Williams, Chairman of the Board. “Ms. Clarke’s strong financial acumen coupled with her global consumer and retail experience will be ...

Jamieson Wellness Inc. ("Jamieson Wellness" or the "Company") (TSX: JWEL), announced today the appointment of Tania M. Clarke, Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of New Look Vision Group Inc., to the Company's Board of Directors.

"I am very pleased to welcome Ms. Clarke to our Board of Directors," said David Williams, Chairman of the Board. "Ms. Clarke's strong financial acumen coupled with her global consumer and retail experience will be invaluable as we continue to expand our reach to consumers around the world. Based in Montreal, Ms. Clarke will also provide more local perspective to support our continued growth in Canada and specifically the Quebec market."

read more Show less
Pfizer Inc. invites investors and the general public to view and listen to a webcast of a discussion with Bob Smith, Vice President, Pfizer Rare Disease, at the 4th Annual Evercore ISI HealthCONx Conference on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 5:10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. To view and listen to the webcast, visit our web site at . Information on accessing and registering for the webcast will be available at ...

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) invites investors and the general public to view and listen to a webcast of a discussion with Bob Smith, Vice President, Pfizer Rare Disease, at the 4th Annual Evercore ISI HealthCONx Conference on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 5:10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

To view and listen to the webcast, visit our web site at www.pfizer.com/investors . Information on accessing and registering for the webcast will be available at www.pfizer.com/investors beginning today.

read more Show less
text saying "top stories this week"

Catch up and get informed with this week's content highlights from Charlotte McLeod, our editorial director.

Top Stories This Week: Powell Gets Fed Nomination, Using Gold in a Market Correction youtu.be

We're back after a break last week with quite a bit to cover in the gold space.

After running up past the US$1,860 per ounce mark midway through November, the yellow metal has taken a tumble. At the time of this writing on Friday (November 26) afternoon, it was sitting just under US$1,790.

Gold's losses this week have been attributed to elements like a stronger US dollar and better Treasury yields, although Jerome Powell's US Federal Reserve chair renomination has pulled other factors into play — some market watchers believe he may move to taper and raise interest rates faster than anticipated.


If the Fed follows its previously laid out timeline for tapering, it will wrap up in mid-2022; the central bank has said it won't raise rates until after that. It has also emphasized that its roadmap may change if necessary.

Looking at the larger picture for gold, I heard recently from Nick Barisheff of BMG Group, who believes the stock market is due for a major correction.

"The market is due for a major correction. What will cause it and when it will happen is anybody's guess — it could be tomorrow, it could be six months from now" — Nick Barisheff, BMG Group

It's impossible to know when this correction will happen, but Nick emphasized the importance of acting before it's too late. He pointed out that investors are typically slow to get out of the market once a crash actually begins — they wait for a turnaround, and by the time it's clear there won't be one, they've experienced big losses.

In his opinion, the solution is to get out of the stock market early and transfer money into gold.

Here's how Nick explained it:

"Instead of taking your money off the table and going into cash … you go to gold (because cash is devaluing daily). Gold will at least hold its own and probably appreciate … so by sitting it out in gold you can wait until the market finishes correcting and then buy back in" — Nick Barisheff, BMG Group

With gold's future in mind, we asked our Twitter followers this week what price they think the metal will be at the end of 2021. By the time the poll closed, most respondents had voted for the US$1,800 to US$1,900 range.

We'll be asking another question on Twitter next week, so make sure to follow us @INN_Resource or follow me @Charlotte_McL to share your thoughts.

Finally, in the cannabis space, INN's Bryan Mc Govern spoke with Dan Ahrens of AdvisorShares to get his thoughts on 2021 trends and what's ahead in 2022.

Dan was candid, and said if he had to choose one word to describe the cannabis market in 2021, it would be "painful." Like many others, he's been disappointed in the industry's performance — while positivity initially ran high due to excitement about potential federal changes in the US, ultimately progress has been slow.

"Cannabis started with a big run-up in January and February ... and things dragged from there" — Dan Ahrens, AdvisorShares

Still, Dan has hope for 2022 and said it will be a "huge year" for cannabis. He believes US reforms will come sooner rather than later, and in his opinion those widely anticipated changes will bring a wave of M&A activity.

Specifically, he expects to see alcohol, tobacco and other consumer packaged goods companies making deals with cannabis players, not just cannabis entities doing transactions with each other.

"Those big alcohol companies, tobacco companies, other consumer packaged goods product companies — they're waiting. They're waiting on the US" — Dan Ahrens, AdvisorShares

Want more YouTube content? Check out our YouTube playlist At Home With INN, which features interviews with experts in the resource space. If there's someone you'd like to see us interview, please send an email to cmcleod@investingnews.com.

And don't forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

cannabis plant layered with German flag graphic
Dmytro Tyshchenko / Shutterstock

Catch up on some of the biggest news of the week for the cannabis investment world.

Three political parties have formed a coalition in Germany, leading to a new government, and it has promised cannabis reform in the European nation.

Meanwhile, a popular cannabis retailer confirmed consumers will now find its products available for delivery on the Uber Eats mobile application in Ontario.

Keep reading to find out more cannabis highlights from the past five days.


Coalition of parties promises forward-looking cannabis policy

Germany, a country with comprehensive and elaborate medicinal rules for cannabis, is in a time of transition as a new government is set to begin to take over after 16 years of Angela Merkel.

Olaf Scholz, the proposed next chancellor of Germany, leads a three party coalition that will become the country's governing body. As part of its promises, talk of adult-use cannabis regulation has now gained even more momentum. A report from MJBizDaily quotes a German policy document that shows the coalition's stance:

"We are introducing the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for consumption purposes in licensed shops. This controls the quality, prevents the transfer of contaminated substances and guarantees the protection of minors."

However, despite the promise and excitement, it remains to be seen how these ideas will be applied since no formal regulations have been drafted or approved yet.

Canadian cannabis retailer partners with popular delivery app

Tokyo Smoke, a cannabis retail operator in Canada owned by Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC,TSX:WEED), announced a collaboration agreement with Uber Canada (NYSE:UBER) whereby cannabis consumers will be able to use the Uber Eats app to order products before they visit stores.

While the app won't let consumers get cannabis delivered to them, this new method opens the doors to more dynamic ways of buying cannabis.

"As a market leader in innovation and a platform used by so many Canadians, we believe this is the ideal next offering that can be done safely and conveniently on the Uber Eats app," Mark Hillard, vice president of operations with Tokyo Smoke, said in a press release.

A report from the Canadian Press indicates Ontario is considering allowing dispensaries to have delivery and pickup options made available to consumers permanently. The province allowed some of these purchasing options at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but then removed them.

Lola Kassim, general manager of Uber Eats Canada, said this new end-to-end experience will provide consumers with responsible access to legal cannabis products.

Cannabis company news

  • Organigram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI,TSX:OGI) issued financial results for its Q4 2021 period. In its report, the company notes a net loss of C$26 million despite a 22 percent uptick in net revenue to C$24.9 million. Beena Goldenberg, the newly appointed CEO of the firm, is encouraged by the market share position earned by the company, which said it became the fourth biggest producer in Canada during the reporting period.
  • Halo Collective (NEO:HALO,OTCQB:HCANF) confirmed the decision for Akanda, its spinoff company focused on international cannabis opportunities, to begin trading on a US exchange. "The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined," the company told investors in a press release.
  • High Tide (NASDAQ:HITI,TSXV:HITI) announced the acquisition of 80 percent of NuLeaf Naturals, a CBD product wellness developer, for an estimated US$31.24 million. The deal includes a three year option clause for High Tide to complete a total acquisition. "As international markets open up and as export regulations evolve, NuLeaf's cGMP-certified facility positions us to take advantage of the global CBD business opportunity," Raj Grover, president and CEO of High Tide, said.
  • Humble & Fume (CSE:HMBL,OTC Pink:HUMBF) released the financial report for its first 2022 fiscal quarter to shareholders and the market. "As the legal cannabis market in North America continues to mature, Humble remains agile and focused on providing a leading solution for brands to scale quickly and retailers to focus on their customers," Joel Toguri, CEO of Humble, said.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

MARKETS

Markets
TSX21125.90-487.28
TSXV944.05-31.53
DOW34899.34-905.04
S&P 5004594.62-106.84
NASD15491.66-353.57
ASX7279.30-128.00

COMMODITIES

Commodities
Gold1793.96-1.28
Silver23.40+0.10
Copper4.36+0.07
Palladium1795.17+10.67
Platinum963.55-16.45
Oil71.79+3.64
Heating Oil2.19+0.09
Natural Gas5.08-0.40

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORTS