3 Can't-Miss Health-Care Events This Week
You won;t often hear me say this, but it's a pretty quiet week on the health-care front. There are a few notable conferences kicking off next week -- including the Healthcare Innovation Expo on March 13 and 14 in London - but three earnings reports are what will take center stage.
Up first is Synageva BioPharma , an orphan-drug developer scheduled to report its fourth-quarter results on Monday. Synageva doesn't have any FDA-approved drugs, so its earnings report will be less about the bottom line and more about its pipeline and its remaining cash on hand. If you recall, Synageva was one of my three biotech stocks to avoid in 2013 largely because of its huge run and valuation ($1.3 billion) despite having only one drug in clinical trials for the treatment of LAL deficiency. I'll be eager to see what, if anything, Synageva is doing to reduce its expenses and what updates management may have about its four other preclinical candidates.
On Tuesday, home health-care and hospice provider Amedisys is set to report its fourth-quarter results. This will be a particularly intriguing quarter from an investor's standpoint as Amedisys has crushed Wall Street's estimates in three of the past four quarters; however, federal budget cuts and lower Medicare reimbursements could threaten both it and the entire sector's future earnings, including its rival Gentiva Health Services . In August 2011, as part of the U.S. debt-ceiling agreement, Medicare reimbursements were to be scaled back, with the result that Amedisys' share price was halved and Gentiva, which also provides home health and hospice services, lost closer to 85% of its value. I have to wonder and worry whether Amedisys' forecast might reflect the possibility of further Medicare cuts, and I will be closely monitoring management's remarks regarding its 2013 forecast.
Finally, Affymax , which mortified shareholders less than two weeks ago after it and licensing partner Takeda Pharmaceuticals announced the voluntary recall of anemia drug Omontys, is expected to report on Thursday. This is going to be a particularly interesting conference call, because without Omontys, Affymax has no pipeline. Amgen , which has basically dominated the anemia dialysis market for two decades with its drug Epogen, has been free to once again take back whatever minute market share it had lost to Omontys since the recall. I'll be listening closely to what Affymax CEO John Orwin has to say about Affymax's next steps, and I'll also keep close tabs on the company's remaining cash balance.
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