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DGAP-News: BB BIOTECH AG / Key word(s): Annual Results/Dividend
Media release as at January 21, 2022
Portfolio of BB Biotech AG as at December 31, 2021
2021 was a difficult year for biotech equity markets - increased dividend of CHF 3.85 proposed
The year 2021 was a volatile market environment for all involved in biotechnology investing, including BB Biotech. The biotech and pharmaceutical sector adapted to the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic cycling through Delta and now Omicron variants with offers of booster vaccines, therapeutic antibodies and most recently new antiviral drugs. For human health overall, new modalities such as genetic medicines, cell-based therapies and RNA-based drugs continue to make positive strides and are expected to improve the prognosis of severe and chronic diseases in the coming years. For the fourth quarter, that challenging biotechnology equity market resulted in a portfolio loss of 14.2% in CHF, 10.9% in EUR and 12.5% in USD for BB Biotech - driving a net loss of CHF 546 mn. Likewise, the share price depreciated by 8.3% in CHF and 4.7% in EUR. BB Biotech carefully adjusted the portfolio in the last three months of 2021. For the full year, total share return was +8.3% in CHF and +13.3% in EUR, substantially ahead of the portfolio performance of -11.5% in CHF, -7.8% in EUR and -14.2% in USD. The net loss for BB Biotech in 2021 was CHF 405 mn. In line with the stated dividend policy of past years, the Board of Directors' dividend proposal at the Annual General Meeting on March 17, 2022 will be an ordinary dividend of CHF 3.85 per share - which corresponds to a 5% return on the volume-weighted average closing price of BB Biotech shares in December 2021. BB Biotech plans to expand its Board of Directors. Shareholders will therefore be asked to elect Pearl Huang and Laura Hamill at the upcoming Annual General Meeting.
During the last quarter of the year major global equity indices extended their 2021 gains. Many markets achieved new all-time highs even though SARS-CoV-2 infection rates reaccelerated in the last weeks of 2021 due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. The Dow Jones (+21.0% in USD), the Dax (+15.8% in EUR), and the SPI (+23.4% in CHF) indices all showed gains for the year in line with the technology dominated Nasdaq Composite (+22.2% in USD). The Nasdaq Biotech Index (NBI) traded flat for the year (0.0% in USD), lagging the broader markets.
Although the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic remained a dominant topic for healthcare authorities in 2021, an impressive array of drug approvals was reported by the US FDA - total drug approvals comprised 50 NDAs and 10 BLAs (vaccines, blood and cell products) for the year. Additionally, multiple SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests, vaccines and drugs were granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA during 2021.
For the fourth quarter, BB Biotech's share price declined 8.3% in CHF and 4.7% in EUR. BB Biotech shares proved more resilient than the smaller and mid cap driven correction in the portfolio. BB Biotech's Net Asset Value (NAV) decreased 14.2% in CHF, 10.9% in EUR and 12.5% in USD, while the NBI index decline of 6.9% in USD for the same period.
The consolidated, but not yet audited fourth quarter 2021 data for BB Biotech indicates a net loss of CHF 546 mn versus the 2020 fourth quarter net gain of CHF 665 mn. The consolidated, but not yet audited full year 2021 data showed a net loss of CHF 405 mn compared to a net gain of CHF 691 mn for 2020.
A proposed dividend of CHF 3.85 per share
Outlook for 2022 with exciting sector fundamentals and anticipated M&A activities
BB Biotech continues to strive for a balanced portfolio between more established mid cap companies and technology leading earlier stage companies. It anticipates that the industry will continue to deliver significant progress for both. Product launches such as Vyvgart from Argenx for the treatment of gMG patients or Caplyta from Intra-Cellular for the treatment of bipolar disorder patients will be yardsticks not only for these companies but for the sector as a whole. For development stage companies, managing the vast number of clinical trials will continue to be a challenge in the current COVID-19-restricted environment. BB Biotech's exposure to oncology development stage companies will be geared towards many clinical trial read outs during 2022.
With smaller and mid cap company valuations substantially lower than one year ago, the investment team sees compelling re-entry opportunities. Similarly, the more established mid cap portfolio companies such as Neurocrine, Incyte and Ionis own attractive assets and technology, which can trigger renewed interest from new investors - or from strategic partners as M&A targets.
Clinical candidates based on new technologies such as genetic medicines are making progress. Crispr Therapeutics together with its development partner Vertex are planning a regulatory submission by late 2022 for CTX001 to treat beta thalassemia and sickle cell patients. Thus, an ex vivo gene editing product could become available as early as 2023 - reviving investors' interest in the field. Other RNA targeting medicines will be launched in the next 12 to 24 months including products from Alnylam and Ionis. As always, investors will weigh potential implications from US government policymakers associated with midterm elections in late 2022.
BB Biotech's long-term horizon and structure enables careful investment that does not follow broad market opinions. The highly specialized investment team at BB Biotech believes that the growth case for biotechnology and valuations for portfolio companies are both compelling. The investment team anticipates that following two years dominated by SARS-CoV-2 headlines, 2022 will include advance of the industry to the severe and chronic diseases that continue to demand perennial progress.
The complete annual report as of December 31, 2021, will be published on February 18, 2022.
TE Communications AG, Bleichestrasse 11, 9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland, tel. +41 79 423 22 28
BB Biotech AG is an investment company registered in Schaffhausen/Switzerland and listed on the Swiss, German and Italian stock exchanges. It has invested in innovative drug developers headquartered primarily in the US and Western Europe. BB Biotech is one of the world's largest investors in this sector. BB Biotech relies on the long-standing experience of its distinguished Board of Directors and the investment research skills of the experienced investment management team of Bellevue Asset Management AG when making its investment decisions.
This release contains forward-looking statements and expectations as well as assessments, beliefs and assumptions. Such statements are based on the current expectations of BB Biotech, its directors and officers, and are, therefore, subject to risks and uncertainties that may change over time. As actual developments may significantly differ, BB Biotech and its directors and officers accept no responsibility in that regard. All forward-looking statements included in this release are made only as of the date of this release and BB Biotech and its directors and officers assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or other factors.
21.01.2022 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.
BB BIOTECH AG
+41 52 624 08 45
Regulated Market in Frankfurt (Prime Standard); Mailand, SIX
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