Investing in ASX biotech shares was an underwhelming affair in November. As a basket, the sector lagged key benchmarks, and many names saw substantial declines in value over the month.
Renewed fears from the Omicron COVID-19 variant saw investors rethink their risk budgeting and reallocate towards more defensive positions away from speculative biotech names. As the market digested news of the new variant, there was a sector-wide selloff in ASX biotechs.
Despite the carnage, there were at least 3 standouts that outperformed in November. Here are the details on each.
TELIX Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:TLX)
Shares in molecular targeted radiation specialist Telix had a relatively strong month and came out more than 9% in the green for November.
Telix shares rallied as much as $7.32 and tested this level twice, before settling slightly below this at $6.60 apiece.
The clinical stage biotech announced that the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved its Illucix offering – news investors responded positively to by bidding up its share price. Illucix is an agent for the diagnostic imaging of men with prostate cancer.
Patients who are at risk of metastasis and are suitable for primary staging, alongside those patients who are deemed to have a biochemical recurrence are eligible under the TGA’s broad clinical indication for Illucix.
The company also gave an investor presentation towards the end of the month covering its therapeutics and outlook.
At the time of writing, Telix shares were fetching $7.27.
Memphasys Ltd (ASX: MEM)
Shares in medical device and biotechnology company Memphasys came in with a strong performance in November and closed out the month 58% in the green.
The Felix device is an innovative solution to remove poor quality sperm samples in in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) to ensure the highest probability of contraception.
Later in the month, the company also advised of the first sale for its Felix device to Diagens Biotechnology Company Ltd in China. The unit was sold for $11,000 and included a “starter pack of cartridges for research applications”.
The company notes that commercial discussions are now “significantly advanced” as first clinical sales are anticipated in low regulatory markets in the coming periods.
November’s gains were a welcomed sigh of relief for Memphasys shareholders, seeing as the ASX biotech share is down more than 27% in the last 12 months.
At the time of writing, the Memphasys share price is trading for 9.3 cents apiece, down 7% since January 1.
Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB)
Shares in ASX biotech Mesoblast had a wild ride in November yet still managed to finish out the month on top. During the 30 days, Mesoblast closed as high as $1.90 and sunk as low as $1.61– a 19% spread for the month.
Investors sent Mesoblast’s share price north in vertical fashion following positive study readouts on its rexlemestrocel-L product candidate. Rexlemestrocel-L is being developed to treat inflammatory diseases in both adults and children.
The latest study results showed the label exhibited a reduction in cardiovascular mortality, heart attacks and strokes, with the greatest effect seen in the “setting of inflammation”.
Specifically, the trial showed that a single dose of rexlemestrocel-L alongside standard of care reduced the incidence of heart attacks or strokes by 65% across the majority of the study cohort.
The novel mechanism of action Mesoblast has with its product offering was also shown to add additional benefits over the current standard of care alone in cardiovascular events such as a heart attack.
Investors were quick to secure a position in the company after the update and even after some profit-taking levelled off its share price. It still closed out the month at $1.70 with a gain far ahead of the benchmark indices.
Overall, the ASX biotech basket was placed on the backburner in November, which adds further weight to these 3 shares and their momentum during the month.