Biotechs Stalled Despite Healthcare Rally
Merck Gains on New Keytruda Data-More Clinical Trials Underway to Expand Uses
Healthcare and Nasdaq stocks caught bids on Monday with the XLV up 0.79%, but biotechs were in the red (IBB) down 0.68 %. Drug distributors and drugstores rallied on news that Amazon(AMZNAmazon( to sell drugs to hospitals and other businesses. CVS Health (CVS) was up 4.2%, Cardinal Health (CAH) up 3.1%, McKesson (MCK) up 3.1% and United Health (UNH) up 2.9%, as this sector recovered from a big hit in February.
Large cap biopharma stocks we’re mixed even though data on expensive immunotherapy drugs for lung cancer showed improved survival with investors betting that Merck’s Keytruda would do better than Opdivo from Bristol-Myers Squibb. 2017 sales for Keytruda topped $3.8B in 2017. Survival rates for lung cancer (~20%) still lag many other cancers. Merck (MRK) was up 2.6% while Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) was down 7.79%.
Abbvie (ABBV) was up 0.84% and Celgene (CELG) held the $90 level up 1.28%.
Large cap investors can add Merck (MRK) with potential gains ahead and a 3.38% dividend. As we await Q1 earnings we can better forecast winners among the large caps.
Mid-cap biopharma stocks were mainly losers except Alkermes (ALKS) up 4.47% and Tesaro (TSRO) up 6.22%. Clovis Oncology (CLVS) sunk 10.27% to $54.41 on news of proposed offerings of convertible senior notes and stock.
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Meeting takes place in Chicago this week so we can expect more clinical updates.