Shares in biotech giant CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) are in the red this morning, trading at $311 apiece. This comes after the CSL share price nudged past its 52-week highs last week.
After starting last week at $316, CSL shares closed at a high of $318 before reversing course later in the week to finish 1.11% in the red.
This watermark signals an impressive run for the Aussie biotech’s share price over the past month or so, having bounced off a low of $286 in early October.
As such, CSL is now trading around its pre-pandemic levels. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for investors moving forward
What’s next for CSL?
Analysts have been cautious on CSL’s blood plasma collection volumes for a while. This is important as the company derives a large chunk of its revenue from this route.
When competitor Haemonetics Corporation (NYSE: HAE) recently came in with lower than expected plasma collection results, it subsequently lowered its own plasma-grown guidance for the upcoming year. Given CSL is one of a handful of plasma collectors worldwide, experts use competitors’ financials to make estimates.
The team at Morgan Stanley reckon Haemonetics’ guidance downgrade might be a headwind for CSL’s earnings. Not only that, but experts are also worried about the impact that COVID-19 is still having on plasma donors showing up to clinics.
Even still, Morgan Stanley models a 32% increase for CSL’s blood plasma collection volumes this quarter, and this kind of sentiment is also shared by analysts at Macquarie. The latter is bullish about the CSL share price and values it at $338 per share.
Aside from this, CSL’s efforts in producing a multi-dose vial (MDV) version of Audenz were recognised by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently. For reference, Audenz is already approved as a single-dose therapy.
The FDA granted CSL supplemental approval for the MDV that is produced under CSL’s Seqirus business. The MDV is labelled as a cell-based influenza vaccine designed to help protect individuals aged 6 months or older in the event of an influenza pandemic.
Under the terms of its partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Seqirus will be ready to deliver 150 million influenza vaccine doses to the US to combat an influenza pandemic within six months.
CSL also recently announced that it had secured funding to create an incubator and wet space lab for biotech start-ups, with support from the Victorian government.
The company will team up with Melbourne University and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) to adopt early-stage biotech companies wanting to advance their discoveries.
As CSL puts it, incubators reduce cost barriers to and other roadblocks to entry for start-ups. Incubators offer a ‘one-stop shop’ by minimising expenditure on factors that keep small companies priced out of the market.
These developments sit on the horizon for CSL, which could bode in well for its share price judging by the expert commentary and market’s reaction.
CSL share price snapshot
The CSL share price has had a difficult period these past 12 months, having gained just 3% in that time. It has rallied over 10% this year to date and has gained over 4% in the past month.
Despite this, it has landed in behind the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO)’s return of around 9% in that time.