Q4 2019 Share Price Performance

Healthcare Stocks Surge 

In this blog post, the Bloom Burton equity research team summarizes the performance of the Canadian healthcare sector during 4Q-2019, and provides commentary on select stock movements and overall market trends. 

Inclusion Criteria 

Our analysis includes all Canadian publicly-listed healthcare companies, defined as companies that are Canadian headquartered and/or listed on Canadian exchanges, with an enterprise value (EV) of C$10 MM or greater. Our definition of healthcare includes companies operating in the following areas: therapeutic R&D; commercial therapeutics; healthcare services; healthcare IT; medical devices; medical supplies; diagnostics; and consumer health. We do not include medical cannabis producers (unless they are developing cannabis-based products under the traditional drug development regulatory process) or companies that operate long term care facilities. Based on these criteria we identified 98 companies.

We classify companies as “Tier 1” and “Tier 2” based on their EV – Tier 1 companies are those with EV of >C$100 MM and Tier 2 are those with EV of <C$100 MM (for a complete listing of companies included in Tiers 1 and 2 of Bloom Burton’s “blog universe”, please see Appendix 1 at the end of the blog).

4Q-2019 Performance 

  • The 97 Canadian healthcare companies included in Bloom Burton’s 4Q-2019 blog were collectively up +16.5% in 4Q-2019, outperforming the S&P/TSX Composite Index (+2.4%) and the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index (+3.4%). The strong quarter for Canadian healthcare stocks is a reversal of the weakness we saw in 3Q-2019 and 2Q-2019 (Bloom Burton’s blog companies were collectively down -5.7% and -5.6% in 3Q-2019 and 2Q-2019 respectively; S&P/TSX Composite Index up +1.7% in 3Q-2019 and 2Q-2019; S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index down -4.6% and -6.6% in 3Q-2019 and 2Q-2019 respectively).
  • Canadian healthcare stocks generally follow the performance of healthcare stocks south of the border and 4Q-2019 was no exception, where the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (NBI) was up +21.1% and the NYSE Pharmaceutical Index (DRG) was up +11.4%. As in Canada, the NBI outperformed the broader U.S. markets (S&P 500 Index up +8.5%; NASDAQ Composite up +11.4%). 
  • While much of 2019 was volatile for biotech stocks, which bottomed in October, the final two months of 2019 saw a surge in the sector due to some significant M&A announcements (Astellas acquiring Audentes for $3 B), positive clinical and regulatory catalysts (aducanumab revival; positive Vascepa AdCom) and general sentiment that drug pricing regulation will not be realized in the lead up to the 2020 U.S. election, as well as a more positive macro backdrop (progress on the U.S.-China trade dispute).
  • Among Canadian healthcare companies, larger Tier 1 companies performed better than smaller Tier 2 companies this quarter (up +28.0% vs +11.3% respectively). This was mostly due to the particularly strong performance of a few Tier 1 companies in response to favourable clinical (Aurinia up +316.6% after it reported positive phase 3 data for Voclosporin; Aptose up +182.7% after it reported positive phase 1 data for CG-806) and regulatory (HLS up +74.3% following Health Canada approval of Vascepa) events, demonstrating the event-driven nature and volatility of the sector. 
  • Among the healthcare subsectors in Bloom Burton’s Canadian tracking universe, the best performing subsector was therapeutic R&D (38 companies: mean +37.0%; median +11.0%) due to the particularly strong performance of certain individual stocks following positive clinical and regulatory events (e.g. Aurinia, Aptose, Medicenna). However, most subsectors were positive this quarter, including healthcare services (10 companies: mean +18.9%), diagnostics (7 companies: mean +8.7%), medical supplies (4 companies: mean +8.2%), veterinary (2 companies: mean +4.0%), medical devices (12 companies: mean +1.7%) and commercial therapeutics (16 companies: mean +1.4%). The exceptions were healthcare IT (1 company: -3.9%) and consumer health (7 companies: mean -19.3%), which contain a small number of companies. 
Company Grouping/Share Price Changes4Q-20193Q-20192Q-20191Q-2019FY 2018
S&P/TSX Composite Index+2.4%+1.7%+1.7%+12.4%-12.2%
S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index+3.4%-4.6%-6.6%+12.5%-35.1%
S&P 500 Index+8.5%+1.2%+3.8%+13.1%-7.0%
NASDAQ Composite+12.2%-0.1%+3.6%+16.5%-4.6%
NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (NBI)+21.1%-8.8%-2.4%+15.4%-11.1%
NYSE Pharmaceutical Index (DRG)+11.4%-1.9%-0.7%+5.9%+3.2%
Canadian Healthcare Overall - Average (86 companies)+16.5%-5.7%-5.6%+18.4%-12.6%
Tier 1 - Average (27 companies)+28.0%-0.8%-9.1%+14.3%+8.9%
Tier 2 - Average (59 companies)+11.3%-8.3%-4.0%+20.4%-22.9%
Tier 1 and 2 - Number of Advancers5225285325
Tier 1 and 2 - Number of Decliners4357633464
Share price increase 40% or greater - Overall22671910
Tier 182247
Tier 21445153
Share price decrease 40% or greater - Overall81111233
Tier 122406
Tier 26972527

*3Q-2019 values were based on an analysis of 87 companies that fit the inclusion criteria (30 Tier 1 and 57 Tier 2), while 2Q-2019, 1Q-2019 and FY 2018 values were based on an analysis of 93 companies (30 Tier 1 and 63 Tier 2). 

4Q-2019 Healthcare Stock Performance By Subsector: 

Tier 1 Company Performance 

  • Overall, we included 30 companies in our Tier 1 analysis with EV of $100 MM or greater, which collectively had a 3Q-2019 return of +28.0%. 
  • The number of Tier 1 advancers (21) was higher than the number of decliners (9) this quarter. 

Notable Tier 1 advancers in the quarter were:

  • Aurinia Pharmaceuticals – The stock rose +316.6% during 4Q-2019, after the company reported positive results from its pivotal phase 3 study for Voclosporin in lupus nephritis on December 4. 
  • Arbutus Biopharma – The stock finished 4Q-2019 up +199.4%, corresponding with the company reporting 3Q-2019 financial results and providing a corporate update on November 6. 
  • Aptose Biosciences – The stock rose +182.7% following reporting of positive preliminary phase 1 data for the company’s anticancer drug, CG-806, in chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients on December 7. 
  • HLS Therapeutics – The stock finished 4Q-2019 up +74.3%, after partner, Amarin, had a favourable FDA AdCom meeting (on November 14) for its cardiovascular drug, Vascepa, (HLS owns Canadian commercial for Vascepa), and after the drugs was approved by Health Canada (on December 31). 

Notable Tier 1 decliners in the quarter were:

  • Correvio Pharma – The stock was down -79.9% during 4Q-2019, following the December 10 AdCom meeting for Brinavess during which the committee recommended that Brinavess not be approved by the FDA.  
  • Advanz Pharma – The stock finished 4Q-2019 down -77.5% on low volume trading (average 19,000 shares traded daily), continuing the stock price weakness from 3Q-2019 which accelerated after the company announced on November 27 plans to re-domicile from Canada to Europe followed by the pro-BREXIT conservative election victory in mid-December.

Tier 2 Company Performance

  • Overall, we included 67 companies in our Tier 2 analysis (with EV of less than $100 MM), which as a group had a 4Q-2019 return of +11.3%. 
  • The number of advancers (31) was just lower than the number of decliners (34) this quarter.

Notable advancers in the quarter include:

  • Trillium Therapeutics – TRIL stock was up +247.3% in 4Q-2019, after competitor, Forty Seven Inc., presented positive clinical data for magrolimab at ASH 2019 which put immuno-oncology target CD47 back on bioinvestors’ radar screens. On December 19, Bloom Burton added TRIL to its Top Idea list for 2020 (biotech runner-up). The stock has increased an additional 230% (subject to final pricing date) since 2020 started, on the back of the company providing updated safety and efficacy data for TTI-621 and TTI-622 (on January 7).
  • Medicenna Therapeutics – The stock was up +183.3% in 4Q-2019, after the company presented a series of clinical readouts for its phase 2b study of recurrent glioblastoma drug, MDNA55. 
  • Novoheart Holdings – The stock was up +127.5% in 4Q-2019 after the company reported 1Q-2020 financial results (on November 19), announced the development of a novel heart model (on November 26) and provided a corporate update (on November 30). 
  • Kneat.com – The stock finished 4Q-2019 up +95.7% after the company announced a big pharma client for its SaaS platform (on November 25), reported 3Q-2019 results (on November 26) and announced the signing of another big pharma client (on December 11). 

Notable decliners in the quarter include:

  • Hemostemix – The stock finished 4Q-2019 down -73.3%, after the company announced results from a phase 2 trial of ACP-01 in critical limb ischemia (on October 21), but the stock generally exhibits large fluctuations in price due to low trading volume. 
  • StageZero Life Sciences – The stock was down -50.0% in 4Q-2019, after the company announced that its licensing partner, Oncore Pharma, for prostate cancer detection test, ColonSentry, had signed a multi-year agreement with BodyCheck NL for distribution and sale of ColonSentry in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg (on October 10). 

Appendix

CompanyEV (C$ MM)Market Cap (C$ MM)Subsector
Tier 1
Bausch Health Companies Inc. 40,780.4 13,673.9 Commercial Therapeutics
Advanz Pharma Corp. 2,220.3 176.1Commercial Therapeutics
Jamieson Wellness Inc. 1,090.9 1,002.0 Consumer Health
Zymeworks Inc.991.9 2,321.9 Therapeutic R&D
Akumin Inc.836.2339.4Healthcare Services
Medical Facilities Corp.621.1149.3Healthcare Services
HLS Therapeutics Inc.521.2792.0Commercial Therapeutics
Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc.474.0 2,815.9 Therapeutic R&D
Theratechnologies Inc.455.1327.8Commercial Therapeutics
Knight Therapeutics Inc.453.4 1,028.1 Commercial Therapeutics
CRH Medical Corp.437.1321.8Healthcare Services
Milestone Pharmaceuticals Inc.424.8508.5Therapeutic R&D
Viemed Healthcare Inc.377.7308.6Healthcare Services
Resverlogix Corp.347.0259.2Therapeutic R&D
Liminal BioSciences Inc.305.2255.5Therapeutic R&D
BELLUS Health Inc.264.3543.3Therapeutic R&D
Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc.214.4439.8Therapeutic R&D
Acasti Pharma Inc.181.3273.0Therapeutic R&D
Arbutus Biopharma Corp.178.1223.9Therapeutic R&D
Correvio Pharma Corp.157.127.3Commercial Therapeutics
IMV Inc.151.4190.9Therapeutic R&D
Hamilton Thorne Ltd.148.2132.4Medical Supplies
Greenbrook Tms Inc.142.9102.2Healthcare Services
Helix BioPharma Corp.128.8167.4Therapeutic R&D
Nuvo Pharmaceuticals Inc.126.15.5Commercial Therapeutics
Eastwood Bio-Medical Canada Inc.123.452.0Consumer Health
Centric Health Corp.121.844.3Healthcare Services
Aptose Biosciences Inc.115.2544.1Therapeutic R&D
Profound Medical Corp.110.7174.8Medical Devices
Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc.110.1166.7Therapeutic R&D
Tier 2
Antibe Therapeutics Inc.95.5126.5Therapeutic R&D
Protech Home Medical Corp.92.081.1Healthcare Services
Sirona Biochem Corp.88.096.4Therapeutic R&D
Intelgenx Technologies Corp.87.957.0Therapeutic R&D
Spectral Medical Inc.85.9162.6Therapeutic R&D
Opsens Inc.78.180.3Medical Devices
kneat.com Inc.75.3118.2Healthcare Services
Medexus Pharmaceuticals Inc.72.955.3Commercial Therapeutics
Zomedica Pharmaceuticals Corp.72.047.0Veterinary
Cardiol Therapeutics Inc.71.1118.5Therapeutic R&D
BioSyent Inc.64.882.8Commercial Therapeutics
Arch Biopartners Inc.60.257.7Therapeutic R&D
ProMIS Neurosciences Inc.58.446.2Therapeutic R&D
Covalon Technologies Ltd.58.451.4Medical Supplies
Rapid Dose Therapeutics Corp.55.929.6Consumer Health
Venus Concept Inc.54.9180.8Medical Devices
Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc.51.597.2Therapeutic R&D
Neovasc Inc.46.553.9Medical Devices
Cipher Pharmaceuticals Inc.46.140.4Commercial Therapeutics
Helius Medical Technologies Inc.45.538.6Medical Devices
Acerus Pharmaceuticals Corp.43.820.9Commercial Therapeutics
Titan Medical Inc.43.225.3Medical Devices
Sernova Corp.40.332.7Medical Devices
Medicenna Therapeutics Corp.38.3116.0Therapeutic R&D
Novoheart Holdings Inc.37.993.5Healthcare Services
TearLab Corp.37.30.6Diagnostic
Lexagene Holdings Inc.36.975.4Diagnostic
Eastgate Biotech Corp.35.320.3Consumer Health
InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc.34.840.5Therapeutic R&D
Edesa Biotech Inc.33.739.9Therapeutic R&D
Medicure Inc.32.365.1Commercial Therapeutics
ImmunoPrecise Antibodies Ltd.32.032.6Medical Supplies
KDA Group Inc.31.427.7Healthcare Services
Microbix Biosystems Inc.30.423.8Medical Supplies
NervGen Pharma Corp.29.941.0Therapeutic R&D
Ceapro Inc.29.524.7Consumer Health
Mimi's Rock Corp.28.119.5Consumer Health
ESSA Pharma Inc.25.5129.8Therapeutic R&D
Appili Therapeutics Inc.25.513.0Therapeutic R&D
SQI Diagnostics Inc.25.417.0Medical Devices
Avivagen Inc.23.520.6Veterinary
Apteryx Imaging Inc.23.314.1Healthcare IT
Aurora Spine Corp.23.111.5Medical Devices
Devonian Health Group Inc.22.18.5Commercial Therapeutics
StageZero Life Sciences Ltd.21.411.2Diagnostic
CVR Medical Corp.20.323.1Diagnostic
Theralase Technologies Inc.19.869.5Medical Devices
Quest PharmaTech Inc.19.620.9Therapeutic R&D
Kalytera Therapeutics Inc.18.523.1Therapeutic R&D
CTT Pharmaceutical Holdings Inc.18.15.5Therapeutic R&D
PreveCeutical Medical Inc.16.811.9Therapeutic R&D
Medx Health Corp.15.518.7Medical Devices
BioMark Diagnostics Inc.15.416.6Diagnostic
Valeo Pharma Inc.15.322.1Commercial Therapeutics
MedMira Inc.15.16.6Diagnostic
biOasis Technologies Inc.13.915.9Therapeutic R&D
Crescita Therapeutics Inc.12.419.5Consumer Health
NanoSphere Health Sciences Inc.12.36.5Therapeutic R&D
iCo Therapeutics Inc.12.112.3Therapeutic R&D
Kane Biotech Inc.11.914.2Therapeutic R&D
Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc.11.87.5Commercial Therapeutics
Hemostemix Inc.10.82.3Therapeutic R&D
BriaCell Therapeutics Corp.10.67.2Therapeutic R&D
Aeterna Zentaris Inc.10.323.8Commercial Therapeutics
Telo Genomics Corp.10.22.8Diagnostic
Trillium Therapeutics Inc.9.837.3Therapeutic R&D
Aquarius Surgical Technologies Inc.9.76.8Medical Devices

Disclosures:

This Research Report is issued and approved for distribution by Bloom Burton Securities Inc. (“Bloom Burton”), a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

This Research Report is provided for informational purposes only and is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any of the securities discussed herein in any jurisdiction where such offer or solicitation would be prohibited. The securities mentioned in this Research Report may not be suitable for all types of investors. This Research Report does not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation or specific needs of any particular investor. Recipients of this Research Report should not rely solely on the investment recommendations contained herein and should contact their own professional advisors to determine if an investment is suitable for them.

The information contained in this Research Report is prepared from sources believed to be reliable but Bloom Burton makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the accuracy, correctness or completeness of such information. All opinions and estimates contained in this Research Report constitute Bloom Burton’s judgment as of the date of this Research Report and are subject to change without notice.  Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results and no representation or warranty is made regarding future performance of the securities mentioned in this Research Report. Bloom Burton accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use or reliance on this Research Report or the information contained herein. This Research Report may not be reproduced, distributed or published, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Bloom Burton.

1. Bloom Burton & Co. or its affiliates have provided investment banking services for HLS Therapeutics Inc., Medexus Pharmaceuticals Inc.,  Nuvo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. during the 12 months preceding the date of issuance of the research report or recommendation. 

2. Bloom Burton has managed an offering of Antibe Therapeutics Inc., Avivagen Inc.,  Bellus Health Inc., ESSA Pharma Inc., Greenbrook TMS Inc., Hamilton Thorne Ltd., HLS Therapeutics Inc., Medicenna Therapeutics Corp., Resverlogix Corp. and Titan Medical Inc. during the 12 preceding the date of issuance of the research report or recommendation.

3. Bloom Burton & Co. and its affiliates collectively beneficially own more than 1% of the outstanding common shares of Nuvo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Mimi’s Rock Corp., respectively.

4. The research analyst responsible for the report or recommendation or any individuals directly involved in the preparation of the report hold or are short the securities of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc., Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc., Hamilton Thorne Ltd., Bellus Health Inc., Trillium Therapeutics Inc., ESSA Pharma Inc., Correvio Pharma Corp. and Greenbrook TMS Inc. directly or through derivatives.

5. The research analyst responsible for this report or recommendation may hold securities discussed in the report indirectly through Bloom Burton Canadian Healthcare Fund, LP which is indirectly affiliated with Bloom Burton & Co.