Global Equities

生物技术股能重整旗鼓吗?

投资组合经理Andy Acker指出,纵使生物技术行业经历史上最严重及漫长的收缩,但凭着创新加速及重新估值,该行业看来变得前所未有的蓬勃。

焦点分析

  • 过去一年,生物技术行业遭遇历史性的抛售潮,导致生物技术股平均跌幅超过50%。
  • 但我们认为,生物技术股的长期增长驱动因素未被削弱。相反,凭借科学突破结合充裕的资金支持,生物技术公司有望由目前至2026年间,实现每年平均9%的销售额增长。
  • 同时,目前标普生物技术行业指数的交易价格约只为长期平均值的一半,预料有空间在这水平上实现强劲反弹。

焦点分析

  • 过去一年,生物技术行业遭遇历史性的抛售潮,导致生物技术股平均跌幅超过50%。
  • 但我们认为,生物技术股的长期增长驱动因素未被削弱。相反,凭借科学突破结合充裕的资金支持,生物技术公司有望由目前至2026年间,实现每年平均9%的销售额增长。
  • 同时,目前标普生物技术行业指数的交易价格约只为长期平均值的一半,预料有空间在这水平上实现强劲反弹。

While global equity markets have been in retreat since the beginning of 2022, for the biotechnology sector, the selling has been going on for much longer. Since hitting a peak on 8 February 2021, the SPDR® S&P® Biotech ETF (XBI), a widely used industry benchmark, has declined by more than 50% and underperformed the S&P 500® Index by over 60% – representing the XBI’s longest contraction on record (270+ trading days), as well as its deepest on both an absolute and relative basis.1

如此表现容易令人感到气馁,但我们认为生物技术行业的长期展望,并未因此受到影响。相反,随着估值受压和行业创新步伐加快,我们认为生物技术行业只会日益壮大。

短期回落,长期价值

生物技术行业近期面临的弱势环境,成因众多。首先,货币刺激措施和投资者在新冠疫情下追捧生物技术行业,使首次公开招股(IPO)市场充满泡沫,大幅提升初创期公司的估值。美国重启药品定价改革,加上美国食品及药物管理局(FDA)局长人选未定,这可能导致监管机构作出出乎意料的决定,令该行业受到影响。最后,加息前景使投资者换走存续期较长的资产,包括生物技术股。

We believe many of the sector’s headwinds are showing signs of abating. Proposals that would allow the U.S. government to “negotiate” drug prices have been scaled back and, in their current form, would affect only a small subset of medicines near the end of exclusivity periods.2 The passing of legislation could also remove an overhang of uncertainty for the sector. The FDA has kept up a rapid pace of approvals – 50 new drugs in 2021, on par with the elevated rate of recent years – even before a permanent commissioner was confirmed in early 2022.3 And studies show little correlation between biotech returns and interest rates. In fact, from 2000 to 2021, biotech stocks saw gains in six out of the nine years when 10-year U.S. Treasury yields rose.4

The IPO boom that occurred in biotech in 2020 and 2021 has stalled amid market volatility and a shift to tighter monetary policy. Some reckoning was likely due: Over the past two years, private companies were often completing IPOs just months after the last private transaction, compared with a more typical one-year time frame, all while fetching premiums of 50% to 100% or more. Further, a growing percentage of firms were going public in the early stages of their pipeline development, raising risks in development and the timeline to profitability for investors.5

The IPO freeze could thaw when market volatility subsides and the path of rate hikes becomes clearer. In the meantime, there’s reason to believe many areas of the sector have become oversold. As of early 2022, a remarkable 16% of U.S.-listed biotechs traded below the level of cash on their balance sheets, more than during the 2002 and 2008 equity bear markets (8% and 11%, respectively).6 And by the end of February, valuations for large-cap biotechs sat well under their long-term average, as well as the average for the broader equity market (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1: Biotech Valuations Fall

生物技术股估值下跌

Source: Bloomberg, from 30 September 1992 to 28 February 2022. The S&P Biotech Sector is composed of the large-cap biotechs in the S&P 500 Index. Forward Price-to-Earnings (P/E) Ratio measures share price compared to estimated future earnings per share for a stock or stocks in a portfolio.

创新推动增长

Even as biotech stocks have sold off, the sector’s innovation has continued to advance. Last year, more than half of drugs approved by the FDA were considered first-in-class, meaning the medicines had mechanisms of action different from those of existing therapies. Nearly three-quarters (74%) used one or more expedited development and review methods, available for drugs that have the potential to significantly advance the standard of medical care.7

Importantly, the drug pipeline is expanding. Globally, more than 6,000 medicines are actively under development, up 68% from 2016, according to the IQVIA Institute.8 Funding has been ample: In 2020, biotech and pharma saw US$27 billion in venture capital deal activity, followed by US$38 billion in 2021.9 For its part, large-cap biopharma spent a record US$133 billion on research and development last year, up 44% from 2016.10 Still, small- and mid-cap biotechs are responsible for the majority of molecules in the pipeline today, while large-cap companies face a looming patent cliff for many top-selling drugs. Consequently, it’s likely that over the coming years these industry giants, sitting on large cash reserves, will seek to replenish product portfolios through mergers and acquisitions (M&A) or strategic partnerships. Indeed, in 2022, a cohort of 18 pharma companies are estimated to have roughly US$1.7 trillion of total funding available for deal-making, including more than US$500 billion in cash.11

准备反弹

It’s anyone’s guess what will spark a rebound in biotech, whether it’s a pickup in M&A or clarity on drug-pricing reform or something else. But we do know that after the bottom of the last 11 drawdowns of at least 20%, the XBI has delivered a median return of 50% over the following 12 months.12 In addition, over the long term, returns for large-cap biotechs have historically been correlated with drug revenues. With health care demand growing and pharma pricing remaining steady – particularly as more medicines revolutionize the standard of care – revenues are projected to rise by a compound annual growth rate of 9% from 2020 to 2026 (Exhibit 2).

Exhibit 2: Nasdaq Biotechnology Index vs. Aggregate Product Revenue, 2000-2026E

纳斯达克生物技术指数与产品收入总计,2000年至2026年预计

Source: Cowen and Company, as of 25 February 2022. Data from 31 December 1999 through 31 December 2026.
Note: Revenue is an aggregate of actual and estimated figures for 65 companies representative of the biotech sector. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index is a stock market index made up of securities of Nasdaq-listed companies classified according to the Industry Classification Benchmark as either the biotechnology or the pharmaceutical industry. Red bars = estimated.

当我们处于生物技术股所面临的严峻时期,我们发现某些企业在目前市场环境下可能较其他公司经营得更为容易。收入╱盈利比率可观、市盈率较低及╱或近期项目提供催化因素的公司,相比处于初创期、流动性较低的公司是更具优势。强劲的资产负债表亦有助支撑估值。然而,长远而言,我们一如既往地看好生物技术行业的增长潜力,并相信目前回调会与过去多次情形一样,终有一日将迎来反弹。

注:

1 Bloomberg, Janus Henderson Investors. Current drawdown data from 8 February 2021 to 14 March 2022. Data for other periods are from 27 February 2006 to 16 March 2020 and reflect declines of 20% or more in the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI). XBI is designed to correspond to the performance of a modified equal weighting of the S&P Biotechnology Select IndustryTM Index, with an inception date of 31 January 2006.
2 Kaiser Family Foundation, Simulating the Impact of the Drug Price Negotiation Proposal in the Build Back Better Act, 27 January 2022.
3 Food and Drug Administration, as of 31 December 2021.
4 Cowen and Company, This Biotech Bear Market Too Shall Pass, 25 February 2022.
5 Janus Henderson Investors, as of 31 December 2021.
6 BioCentury, Weathering one of biotech’s worst bear markets, 4 February 2022.
7 Food and Drug Administration, Advancing Health Through Innovation: New Drug Therapy Approvals 2021, January 2022.
8 IQVIA, Global Trends in R&D: Overview through 2021, February 2022.
9 Q4 2021 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor, as of 31 December 2021.
10 IQVIA, Global Trends in R&D: Overview through 2021, February 2022. Data based on 15 largest pharmaceutical companies.
11 SVB Leerink, Big Biopharma Will Have $500Bn in Gross Cash to Deploy YE22 - Get Set for M&A, December 2021.
12 Bloomberg, Janus Henderson Investors. Data from 27 February 2006 to 16 March 2020 and reflect periods where the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) experienced a price decline of 20% or more.

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