IBB - A Clearer Runway Ahead

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


Introduction

The Biotechnology cohort has finally made up much of the lost ground during the pummeling from both sides of the political aisle during the 2016 presidential race. Tweets and excerpts during the campaign trail from Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump put the biotech cohort through the wringer via aiming for drug pricing. The sustained sell-off lead to the entire cohort to sell off from all-time highs of $400 to $240 or 40% in only 6 months as measured via the iShares Biotechnology Index ETF (NASDAQ:IBB). From February of 2016 through June of 2017 IBB traded in a tight range from $250 to $300 while Donald Trump continually fired shots against the healthcare sector. Any healthcare related stocks became volatile on the heels of any statement or tweet from Donald Trump. Shortly after the inauguration, Trump stated that drug companies are “getting away with murder” when speaking to the drug pricing issue. As the proposed healthcare legislation appears to be dead as of now, a level of certainty has entered the picture, and the drug pricing threats are not perceived to be as bad as initially feared. Recently the index has had a resurgence moving to a 52-week high of $335 with a much clearer runway ahead as the political headwinds continue to abate. As the confluence of abating political threats, drug pricing certainty, and continuity of the current healthcare backdrop, I feel the index has room to continue its upward trend and retrace its 2015 level of $400. Continue reading "IBB - A Clearer Runway Ahead"

IBB - Biotech Catches Fire... Finally

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


Introduction

Biotechnology has been a difficult space to deploy capital over the previous ~18-24 months. This cohort plummeted over and over again from both sides of the political isle as the 2016 presidential race unfolded. Between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump taking aim at drug pricing via speeches, Twitter, and other social media platforms, largely attributed to the entire cohort selling off. The sustained sell-off lead to the entire cohort to sell off from all-time highs of $400 to $240 or 40% in only six months as measured via the iShares Biotechnology Index ETF (NASDAQ:IBB). From February of 2016 through June of 2017 IBB traded in a tight range from $250 to $300 while Donald Trump continually fired shots against the healthcare sector. Any healthcare related stocks became volatile on the heels of any statement or tweet from Donald Trump. Shortly after the inauguration, Trump stated that drug companies are “getting away with murder” when speaking to the drug pricing issue. Now he’s come out and stated that he’s working on a “new system where there will be competition in the drug industry.” Every time any of these remarks were tweeted, they immediately resulted in a downtrend across the entire biotech cohort. As the new proposed health care legislation enters its initial stages in Congress, a level of certainty has entered the picture, and the drug pricing threats are not perceived to be as bad as initially feared. Recently the index has had a resurgence moving from $284 to $321 or 13% over the past month. As the political headwinds continue to abate, I feel the index has room to continue its upward trend. Continue reading "IBB - Biotech Catches Fire... Finally"

IBB - The Political Tug-Of-War Rages On

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


Donald Trump is back at it again via Twitter and once again he has ignited the political tug-of-war between potential policy changes and Wall Street. The overall healthcare sector has become volatile on the heels of any statement or tweet from Donald Trump. Shortly after the inauguration, Trump held a press conference and stated that drug companies are “getting away with murder” when speaking to the drug pricing debate. Now he’s come out and stated that he’s working on a “new system where there will be competition in the drug industry.” Every time any of these remarks are tweeted, they immediately result in a downtrend across the entire biotech cohort, this time was no exception. The iShares Biotechnology Index ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) traded down 1.7% or $5 per share once tweeted. The healthcare sector has been faced with an uncertain and volatile political backdrop. The overall healthcare umbrella has become sensitive to any tweet from President Trump as he vows to bring down drug prices. Although he’s pursuing his agenda against drug pricing, IBB has become resilient as many of these threats may have already been priced-in as seen in many healthcare-related stocks that have seen sharp and sustained sell-offs. Ostensibly, many of these stocks are trading at multiyear low P/E ratios and as a cohort (gauged via the IBB proxy) looks to be less sensitive to tweets/threats and continues to test the $300 barrier.

IBB Chart
Figure 1 – IBB price activity and resilience over the previous 6 months with pronounced volatility that coincides with political rhetoric against drug pricing

The Drug Pricing Transparency Coalition

Many large-cap pharma companies have created an unofficial drug pricing coalition to provide transparency in an effort to separate themselves from a handful of egregious price increases to contend with Trump’s aim at the drug companies. Continue reading "IBB - The Political Tug-Of-War Rages On"

IBB Looks Ripe For A Turnaround In 2017

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


Introduction

Will the confluence of abating political uncertainty, proposed self-regulation on drug price increases, potential merger and acquisition activity and chronically depressed valuations bode well for IBB in 2017? The biotech cohort saw a very tumultuous 2016 to say the least as the political backdrop, drug pricing debate and presidential election took the headlines. Biotech stocks responded erratically to any news that would have a perceived impact on the cohort during this timeframe. Since Donald Trump voiced his concerns over drug pricing, the initial rally in biotech has largely eroded to pre-election levels. The iShares Biotechnology Index ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) traded in a wide range throughout 2016 with pronounced volatility throughout the presidential election cycle registering a range of ~$240 to $344 or a 104-point range (Figure 1). The upcoming 2017 year is shaping up to be an eventful one with continued uncertainty about the political climate, governmental stance on mergers and acquisitions and potential deregulation. Another hot button issue will be the potential restructuring of the Affordable Care Act and proposed favorable tax and repatriation rates. Continue reading "IBB Looks Ripe For A Turnaround In 2017"

The Political Biotech Charade

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


Hillary Clinton is once again going after the pharmaceutical companies in the form of drug pricing attacks. Her latest attack was on Mylan and its aggressive 400 percent price increase over the past decade for its EpiPen drug which uses an auto-injection of epinephrine to treat severe allergic reactions. Mylan acquired the product in 2007, and the price increased from $100 in 2008 to its current cost of ~$600. Hillary Clinton was quoted as stating:

"That's outrageous — and it's just the latest troubling example of a company taking advantage of its consumers," and "It's wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them."

Even more, after her initial Tweet the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (PACF:IBB) sold off ~5% within minutes and moved from $299 to $279 per share by the next day or 6.7% over a two day period (Figures 1 and 2).

Hillary Clinton EpiPen Tweet
Figure 1 – Hillary Clinton’s remarks pertaining to the EpiPen price increase

Correlation between Hillary Clinton’s tweet and the subsequent sell-off of the biotech cohort
Figure 2 – Correlation between Hillary Clinton’s tweet and the subsequent sell-off of the biotech cohort

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean also came out swinging against the pharmaceutical and health-care industry stating that reform is needed which necessitates "far more sweeping" than what Dodd-Frank did for the financial industry. He further went on to state: Continue reading "The Political Biotech Charade"