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Biotech Daily covers the major announcements from more than 140 ASX-listed biotech companies as well as the major research institutes and developments in government policy.

Published shortly after the stock market closes five days a week - excluding public holidays - Biotech Daily is the only comprehensive daily source of information on the listed biotech sector.

The Biotech Daily Top 40 Index (BDI-40) is selected on the basis of interesting technologies, benefit to human health and investment potential. Market capitalization is important, but is not a sole arbiter.

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January BDI-40 Down 14%, ASX200 Up 0.3%,
Big Caps Down 4%, NBI Up 6%

Prescient Up 63%, Antisense 37%, Avita 34%; Polynovo Down 33%

 February 1, 2021

For anyone looking for stock market “certainty” or even vague consistency, January was not your month. The Biotech Daily Top-40 Index (BDI-40) slipped 0.8 percent in January but was up 8.4 percent for the year, compared to the benchmark S&P ASX200, which was up 0.3 percent in January but down 5.8 percent compared to January 31, 2020.
The cumulative market capitalization of the three Big Caps of Cochlear, CSL and Resmed (which are not included in the BDI-40) fell 3.9 percent in January, and down 8.8 percent for the year, while the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index (NBI) climbed 6.3 percent in January and soared 41.5 percent for the year.
What all this means is that the BDI-40, the Big Caps and the ASX200 are all close to their record highs, just before we locked down for Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, when the global economy alleged collapsed, completely. Apart from the NBI, which didn’t. Go figure.
Even Cannabis Corner was confounding. Despite ordinary announcements, the collective market capitalization for the 22 companies claiming to do something medical with marijuana, was up 2.7 percent in January and 18.8 percent for the year.
The Big Caps are dominated by CSL which fell 5.7 percent in January – possibly by speculation on the gazillions to be made on vaccines which have a tiny margin – while Cochlear climbed 3.5 percent to $12,859 million, and Resmed slipped 0.04 percent for the month on yet more record revenue and profit, primarily due to efficiently switching production to ventilators for Covid-19. Go figure, again.
Twenty-three of the BDI-40 were up, 10 by more than 10 percent, with 17 down and five by more than 10 percent.
Prescient was the best, on a strong run last week on no news, up $27 million or 62.8 percent to $70 million. Antisense was up 37.3 percent to $103 million, followed by Avita (34.3%), Patrys (25.6%), Pro Medicus (20.6%, to more than $4 billion), Dimerix (21.3%), Cyclopharm (18.9%), Alterity (15.9%), Amplia (11.5%) and Orthocell (11.0%).
Polynovo led the falls, retreating 33.0 percent from last month’s all-time high of $2.6 billion to $1.7 billion, followed by Resonance (18.7%), Nanosonics (14.7%), LBT (14.3%) Proteomics (13.3%) and Paradigm 9.9%.
On the Nasdaq, Eyepoint (Psivida) jumped 106.2 percent to $266 million, Redhill (with Australian assets) climbed 15.9 percent to $458 million and Queensland’s Protagonist was up 3.5 percent to $1,166 million.
In reviewing the BDI-40 and lower lists, we ask the question: is Company X better than Company Y, based on science, benefit to human health and board and management?
While there are several companies that could be demoted from the BDI-40, we err on the side of conservatism (so we don’t look like fools when they announce a major deal, the day after we demote them). And the lower lists do not as yet have the scores on the board. Some are close.
The elephants in the room are Mesoblast and Starpharma. Both have spent two decades attempting to show their respective technologies, stem cells and dendrimer anti-microbials, have efficacy for human health, but with very little reward for shareholders.
Mesoblast had a US FDA GvHD knockback and two trials showing that the original mesenchymal precursor cells and the Osiris-acquired mesenchymal stem cells did not meet the primary endpoints for cardiac failure and Covid-19 related Ards, respectively; while Starpharma has been looking for a use for SPL7013 since before Biotech Daily started in 2005. Mesoblast earns income from the Osiris drug for GvHD and Starpharma has revenue from condom coatings and as a continuous use against bacterial vaginosis. Both companies have made significant deals with major pharmaceutical companies.
If there was a drug development company near phase III that could displace them from the Top 20 to the Second 20, that would happen, but both maintain their rankings in the Top 20 because there is no competition. And that says more about drug development in Australia than either company. We remain impressed with their boards and management and determination to prove that they have something that benefits humankind.
Contenders for promotion include Alcidion, Micro-X, Emvision and Control Bionics.
BDI-40 v S&P ASX200 Jun 30, 2006 to Jan 31, 2021 
5-Year Big Caps (Cochlear, CSL, Resmed) to Jan 31, 2021

BDI-40 ($m) v S&P ASX200 – Year to Jan 31, 2021 
(current, raw data)



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Biotech Daily Top 40 With Market Capitalization At Jan 31, 2021


* Biotech Daily editor, David Langsam, owns shares in Acrux, Alcidion, Alterity, Amplia, BTC Health, Cochlear
   Cynata, Nanosonics, Neuren, Patrys, Polynovo, Telix and Volpara, as well as non-biotechnology stocks.
   Through Australian Ethical Superannuation he has an indirect interest in a range of biotechnology companies. 

   These holdings are liable to change: