These are truly unprecedented times, and the spread of COVID-19 is squarely to be blamed. For investors, the past few weeks have been historic and given this tumultuous economic climate, it is no wonder some investors have been frightened. As on 9 April 2020, as per the data collected from WHO, there are more than 1,356,780 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, which led to the deaths of over 79,385 people.
This is the time when investors could contemplate over picking the stocks with the highest quality in the market. They might also like to add some healthcare shares in their portfolio by observing the current COVID-19 situation inducing demands for developing its treatment/vaccine.
Let us deep dive and discuss seven ASX listed quality healthcare shares- CSL, MSB, COH, PAR, AVH, RMD, FPH
CSL Limited (ASX:CSL)
A leading global ASX listed biotechnology company CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) is engaged in providing life-saving treatments, including those medicines that are used for the treatment of immune deficiencies and haemophilia, and also have the portfolio to offer vaccines for influenza prevention. The Company operates in three businesses- CSL Behring, CSL Plasma and Seqirus.
CSL on 9 April 2020 provided a comprehensive update on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting its business. According to the release, plasma collections are expected to be affected by the pandemic.
However, the Company is confident that it would be able to mitigate this by various initiatives including collection centres being designated essential critical infrastructure, safe passage letters given to workforce and donors, and initiatives by FDA for releasing plasma earlier in the cycle.
It is noteworthy to mention that CSL has become one of only a handful of companies that have been proficient for maintaining their FY2020 guidance. CSL has reaffirmed its profit guidance for FY2020 of nearly $2,110 million to $2,170 million in constant currency.
CSL stock was trading at $324.300, up by 3.866% at AEST 03:27 PM, with a market capitalisation of $141.64 billion.
Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB)
A Melbourne headquartered health care sector player Mesoblast Limited is a leader in developing innovative cellular medicines across the globe. The Company has a robust emerging drug pipeline with lead product candidates- remestemcel-L, revascor, MPC-06-ID and MPC-300-IV.
On 9 April 2020, Mesoblast revealed that its allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) drug candidate remestemcel-L would be officially evaluated in a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical study in 240 patients with ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) caused by COVID-19.
This phase 2/3 study would be conducted in collaboration with the Cardiothoracic Surgical Trials Network (CTSN), established by the US National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) as a flexible platform to conduct collaborative clinical trials.
The stock of MSB was trading at $2.270, surging up by 23.706% at AEST 03:32 PM.
Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH)
ASX-listed Australia headquartered medical device company Cochlear Limited develops and supply of implantable hearing solutions for offering a lifetime of hearing outcomes.
On 8 April 2020, Cochlear revealed that the Company received an approval from the US FDA for its Remote Check solution which is the first telehealth patient assessment tool for Cochlear’s implant recipients.
Remote Check solution for cochlear implants is created to be a convenient testing device at-home that allows people with a Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor for completing a sequence of hearing tests by using the Nucleus Smart Application from their iOS device. After this, the findings can be sent remotely to the clinic of the user to analysed by their clinician.
The stock of COH was trading at $187.170, up by 2.329% at AEST 03:36 PM.
Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals Limited (ASX:PAR)
An ASX listed Australian biopharmaceutical company Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals Limited (ASX: PAR) is into repurposing of drug and for the treatment of inflammation, it provides repurposed pentosan polysulphate sodium (PPS).
According to an ASX announcement dated 6 April 2020, Paradigm reported a very encouraging real-world information ahead of its phase 3 osteoarthritis (OA) clinical trial using the Phase 3 product and two Phase 3 endpoints. Doctors treated their OA patients with injectable pentosan polysulfate (iPPS) (Zilosul®) under the Special Access Scheme (SAS) of Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
The Company was delighted to report a 45 per cent mean decrease in WOMAC pain subscale of the OA index of WOMAC across thirty-four patients with knee osteoarthritis using the recent phase 3 clinical study product.
PAR stock was trading at $1.580 at AEST 03:38 PM with a market cap of 321.45 million.
AVITA Medical Limited (ASX:AVH)
ASX-listed healthcare company AVITA Medical Limited is into development as well as the distribution of tissue-engineered cellular formulations for replacement of skin and offers products, for instance, CellSpray and RECELL, that are used for injuries, burns and skin scars.
In Australia AVITA’s RECELL System is Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) registered, had received CE-mark approval in Europe.
According to an ASX announcement dated 6 April 2020, the Company revealed preliminary assessments of its top-line findings for the March quarter (ended 31 March 2020) and highlighted that revenue for March quarter was recorded to be approximately $6.0 million, rising up by 21% as compared to the previous corresponding period (pcp).
Moreover, in the United States, AVH’s aim to increase the sales of RECELL were achieved at USD 3.9 million, climbing up by 22% as compared to pcp.
The stock of AVH was trading at $0.535, up by 7% at AEST 03:55 PM with a market cap of nearly $1.07 billion.
ResMed Inc (ASX:RMD)
A medical device and software company, ResMed Inc develops high-quality medical devices for providing a superior and better-quality life to patients of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnoea and other chronic diseases.
Increased demand for ResMed’s Ventilator due to COVID-19
As per the information provided on the Company’s website, ResMed stands with the world in facing the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and is prepared to help in lessening its impact as well as assisting individuals to breathe while their immune system fights this deadly virus.
Further, the Company revealed that over 7,500 employees have been working in more than 140 countries for COVID-19 treatment.
Notably, ResMed is working with the aim to increase the accessibility of ventilators and other respiratory assistance devices for the COVID-19 infected individuals who highly need them.
The stock of RMD was trading at $24.33, moving down by 1.458% at AEST 03:58 PM with a market cap of approximately $35.72 billion.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Limited (ASX:FPH)
ASX and NZX listed healthcare sector player Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Limited provides innovative products to be used in respiratory care and is a leader in the designing, production and marketing of these products to support clinicians and general practitioners for improving patient care and outcomes.
Subsequent to the statement given by the Prime Minister of New Zealand that the COVID-19 alert status can increase to Level 4 within 48 hours’ time, on 23 March 2020, FPH advised that it had been nominated as an essential service by the Government of New Zealand and would continue businesses in its Auckland facilities.
It is noteworthy, at the present time, F&P has approximately 5,000 people across the globe who are focused on meeting the increased demand for its respiratory products that are being used in the treatment of patients with COVID-19.
The stock of FPH was trading at $25.940, down by 3.245% at AEST 03:59 PM with a market cap of nearly $15.41 billion.