Equity markets performed well in the first quarter driven by an expectation of lower corporate tax rates in the US and the potential repatriation of offshore cash and investments in infrastructure.
The S&P 500 gained 6.1%, the Dow Jones gained 5.2% and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 10.1 (all values in USD).
In the healthcare space Swiss investment company BB Biotech earned a bottom-line profit of CHF 375 mn and its share price advanced 7.7% in CHF and 7.1% in EUR through to 31st March. Profits were generated from core positions in Incyte, Celgene and Actelion - creating a cash increase in other positions such as Novo Nordisk, Ionis and in several of its mid-sized investments. Continuing a strategy of investing in promising smaller and mid-cap companies, the group also added Five Prime Therapeutics to its portfolio in Q1.
In the near term BB Biotech expects the healthcare reform debate in the US to simmer against a backdrop of late stage clinical trial read-outs and an increase in the number of product approvals. Further merger and acquisition activity is expected to drive performance in the sector and in particular Johnson & Johnson's acquisition of Actelion will likely deliver significant cash for BB Biotech in the second quarter.
For the remainder of 2017, the group will consider selective increases in undervalued portfolio positions and continue to add promising new smaller and mid-cap positions to its investment portfolio.
For more information, please contact Claude Mikkelsen
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.