The S&P/ASX 200 Health Care Index (ASX: XHJ) finished November just 2.72% higher compared to the 9.5% surge in the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO). Sectors that benefitted from lockdowns including technology, ecommerce and consumer staples underperformed in November, while beaten up sectors such as financials, travel and real estate did the heavy lifting for the index.
ASX 200 healthcare heavyweights flat in November
ASX 200 healthcare shares that dominate the index weightings finished relatively flat in November. The CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price closed 4% higher, the Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp Ltd (ASX: FPH) share price was down just 1.25%, Sonic Healthcare Ltd (ASX: SHL) was the worst performing, down almost 6% and Cochlear Ltd (ASX: COH) shares finished up by only 2.5%.
The underperformance of these heavyweights reiterate the rotation narrative into cyclicals and value stocks, and the recent fallout of stocks that benefitted from the lockdowns and COVID-19.
Despite the flat performance, there were some hidden gems in the ASX 200 that delivered significant returns.
Another crazy month for Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB)
It’s been a wild ride for Mesoblast shares as the biotech continues its research while burning through cash. Previously, the Mesoblast share price crashed 40% after the United States Food and Drug Administration did not approve its highly anticipated Remestemcel-L treatment and advised an additional randomised controlled study.
Rather than moving into the much needed commercialisation of its treatment, the company was sent packing to undertake additional study. This saw the Mesoblast share price nose dive more than 40% on 2 October.
Its shares have since turned around to surge 35% in November. This follows the company’s exclusive worldwide license and collaboration agreement with Novartis for the development, manufacture and commercialisation of its mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) product, Remestemcel-L.
The initial focus will be on the development of the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), including that associated with COVID-19.
From a revenue perspective, Novartis will make an upfront US$50 million payment including US$25 million in equity. Mesoblast may receive a total of US$505 million pending achievement of pre-commercialisation milestones for ARDS indications.
Polynovo Ltd (ASX: PNV) soars on expansion and sales growth
The Polynovo share price pushed 30% higher in November into record territory. The company is experiencing a rapid increase in revenue as it commercialises its NovoSorb BTM product globally.
When trauma to the skin occurs, large portions of the surface of the skin and its deeper layers are destroyed. NovoSorb BTM may be used to temporarily close the wound and aid the body in generating new tissue.
NovoSorb sales increased from $9.3 million in FY19 to $19.06 million in FY20. More recently, the company has been expanding its presence and growing its sales team across Europe and Asia.