Connect with us


Healthcare Pro Steven Boyd Is Gobbling Up These 3 Stocks

Healthcare Pro Steven Boyd Is Gobbling Up These 3 Stocks



With the market’s trajectory remaining unknown, hedge fund manager Steven Boyd believes that one industry in particular still houses exciting opportunities: the healthcare sector. Compared to the broader market, the healthcare space has held up stronger, with the names battling COVID-19 seeing some serious gains.

Before founding his hedge fund, Armistice Capital, in 2012, Boyd spent a significant portion of his career focusing on investments in consumer and healthcare equities. Taking that expertise with him, Boyd built Armistice into a global, long-short, value-oriented and event-driven hedge fund that boasts an impressive healthcare stock picking record. Based on the firm’s $1.7 billion worth of assets at the end of 2019, that track record speaks for itself.

Taking all of this into consideration, we wanted to find out if three stocks Boyd added to the fund recently represent compelling plays in the healthcare space. Pulling up TipRanks’ database, the platform revealed that the Buy-rated tickers are backed by Wall Street analysts and sport massive upside potential.

Catalyst Pharmaceuticals (CPRX)

We will start with Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, which develops therapies to improve the lives of patients with debilitating, chronic neuromuscular and neurological diseases. Thanks to its lead asset, Firdapse, the company has scored several fans.

Among its fan base is Boyd. His fund disclosed that it had acquired a new position in CPRX. Buying a whopping 5,378,000 shares, Armistice became a 5.2% owner of the company.

Out on the Street, CPRX has earned the support of members of the analyst community, including H.C. Wainwright’s Andrew Fein. After management reported that there had been a total of 532 cumulative Firdapse patient enrollments spanning from the January 2019 commercial launch through year-end 2019, the five-star analyst believes substantial progress has been made in Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS). Additionally, the company is continuing to focus on increasing new patient starts, maintaining new patients and combatting initial patient discontinuation.

“We believe the momentum of the ongoing Firdapse commercial expansion continues to be driven by directed focus and growth of sales and marketing efforts... In light of continued commercial progress in LEMS, management reiterated full-year 2020 Firdapse net revenue guidance of $135-155 million, which we note does not include global expansion efforts such as possible New Drug Submission (NDS) approval in Canada anticipated in 2H20, which we believe can provide yet further benefit to commercial efforts,” Fein commented.

As about 65% of diagnosed LEMS patients haven’t been prescribed Firdapse and there’s an estimated 1,500 undiagnosed patients, Fein thinks 2020 revenue could reach $146.8 million. Based on all of this, he reiterated a Buy rating and $9 price target. (To watch Fein’s track record, click here)

Like Fein, Oppenheimer’s Leland Gershell also takes a bullish approach. “Despite a WFH policy and travel ban, patient access to Firdapse remains uninterrupted, and the company has inventory through mid-2021. Also, top-line data from an SPA-sponsored pivotal trial in muscle-specific receptor tyrosine kinase (MuSK), which we see as a key catalyst for the stock, remain on track to report this quarter,” the five-star analyst commented.

Even though the proof-of-concept data readout in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Type 3 was delayed, the program wasn’t included in Gershell’s model, so he still sees CPRX as an “attractive buy at current levels.” To this end, he left an Outperform call and $10 price target on the stock, indicating 102% upside potential. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)

Overall, 3 Buys assigned in the last three months versus no Holds or Sells add up to a Strong Buy Street consensus. At $10, the average price target matches Gershell’s. (See Catalyst stock analysis on TipRanks)

Baudax Bio, Inc. (BXRX)

Specializing in the development of products for patients in acute care settings, Baudax Bio is committed to providing clinically meaningful therapeutic options. Shares are up 25% in the last month, and some market watchers believe that there’s still plenty of room for BXRX to keep on surging.

This appears to be the stance taken by Boyd. Armistice initiated a new position, pulling the trigger on 899,576 shares. Along with the purchase came a 4.99% stake in BXRX.

Weighing in on the healthcare name for Janney Montgomery, analyst Esther Hong has also been singing its praises. Her bullish thesis is in part driven by the company’s plans for its IV meloxicam (Anjeso) product’s U.S. launch. The therapy, which was approved back in February for the treatment of moderate-to-severe post-op pain, will be launched in June, with the company placing a significant focus on hiring and training a sales staff in preparation for the full commercial launch.

Hong tells investors that once COVID-19 restrictions are eased, she predicts a spike in elective surgeries. As a result, her call for de minimis U.S. Anjeso sales of $3.1 million for the first six months after launch remains unaltered.

Hong added, “Once the recommendation against non-emergency procedures is lifted, we believe Baudax will move full speed forward with its plans to target ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) that perform the following core target procedures: orthopedic (hip/knee, spine, other), general surgery and colorectal. This translates to approximately 550 ASC accounts that perform approximately 1 million of these procedures per year.” As BXRX has also identified 1,450 inpatient and outpatient hospitals that make up 80% of the targeted market, the deal is sealed for Hong.

As a result, Hong rates BXRX shares a Buy along with a $10 price target, which implies 190% upside potential. (To watch Hong’s track record, click here)

Other analysts are on the same page. Based on 100% Street support, BXRX earns a Strong Buy consensus rating. In addition, the $13.33 average price target is more aggressive than Hong’s and suggests 291% upside potential. (See Baudax stock analysis on TipRanks)

Pulmatrix, Inc. (PULM)

Utilizing its iSPERSE technology, Pulmatrix is developing innovative pulmonary-delivered treatments for both respiratory and non-respiratory disease. While shares have already climbed 60% higher in 2020, new strategic partnerships could signal that more growth is in store.

Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity, Armistice went in on PULM. The hedge fund added a new holding, disclosing the purchase of 1,320,180 shares on April 24. The implication? Boyd’s fund is now a 4.99% owner of the company.

Turning now to the analyst community, Fein (who also covers CPRX) acknowledges that its Pulmazole asset is limited by poor bioavailability, pharmacokinetic variability, drug interactions and possible GI and cardiac related side effects, but he still sees an opportunity.

“As Pulmazole development continues for the treatment of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) asthmatic patients, utilizing the company’s inhaled iSPERSE formulation of prescription anti-fungal drug, itraconazole, we continue to assert that an inhaled formulation of itraconazole could offer patients improved respiratory distribution with lower systemic exposure than the oral itraconazole alternative,” the H.C. Wainwright analyst commented.

On top of this, Fein argues that the iSPERSE program in general is stable, with it supported by an agreement with Cipla for the co-development and commercialization of Pulmazole, partnerships with the Lung Cancer Initiative of Johnson & Johnson and Nocion Therapeutics for inhaled drug delivery development with broader applicability. Highlighting the Johnson & Johnson collaboration specifically, the analyst noted, “We specifically maintain that the J&J agreement option for a portfolio of narrow spectrum kinase inhibitors (NSKI) in development for lung cancer, highlights the applicability of the iSPERSE approach to potentially facilitate efficacy, tolerability, and drug delivery for systemic treatment in other diseases.”

Sure, there’s a chance that COVID-19 could delay the progression of trials and impact patient enrollment, but Fein points out that currently, both Phase 2 data for Pulmazole in treating ABPA in asthma patients and Phase 1b data for PUR1800 are slated for release in the first half of 2021.

Bearing this in mind, Fein stayed with the bulls. Along with a Buy recommendation, he kept his $10 price target as is, putting the potential twelve-month gain at a whopping 625%.

Looking at the consensus breakdown, Fein is the only analyst that has thrown an opinion into the mix recently. As a result, the stock’s consensus rating is a Moderate Buy, with the average price target matching Fein’s. (See Pulmatrix stock analysis on TipRanks)

To find good ideas for healthcare stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

The post Healthcare Pro Steven Boyd Is Gobbling Up These 3 Stocks appeared first on TipRanks Financial Blog.

Read More

Continue Reading


Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super…



Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super Tuesday primaries have got it right. Barring cataclysmic changes, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be the Republican and Democratic nominees for president in 2024.

(Left) President Joe Biden delivers remarks on canceling student debt at Culver City Julian Dixon Library in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (Right) Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump stands on stage during a campaign event at Big League Dreams Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images; David Becker/Getty Images)

With Nikki Haley’s withdrawal, there will be no more significantly contested primaries or caucuses—the earliest both parties’ races have been over since something like the current primary-dominated system was put in place in 1972.

The primary results have spotlighted some of both nominees’ weaknesses.

Donald Trump lost high-income, high-educated constituencies, including the entire metro area—aka the Swamp. Many but by no means all Haley votes there were cast by Biden Democrats. Mr. Trump can’t afford to lose too many of the others in target states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Majorities and large minorities of voters in overwhelmingly Latino counties in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and some in Houston voted against Joe Biden, and even more against Senate nominee Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas).

Returns from Hispanic precincts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts show the same thing. Mr. Biden can’t afford to lose too many Latino votes in target states like Arizona and Georgia.

When Mr. Trump rode down that escalator in 2015, commentators assumed he’d repel Latinos. Instead, Latino voters nationally, and especially the closest eyewitnesses of Biden’s open-border policy, have been trending heavily Republican.

High-income liberal Democrats may sport lawn signs proclaiming, “In this house, we believe ... no human is illegal.” The logical consequence of that belief is an open border. But modest-income folks in border counties know that flows of illegal immigrants result in disorder, disease, and crime.

There is plenty of impatience with increased disorder in election returns below the presidential level. Consider Los Angeles County, America’s largest county, with nearly 10 million people, more people than 40 of the 50 states. It voted 71 percent for Mr. Biden in 2020.

Current returns show county District Attorney George Gascon winning only 21 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan primary. He’ll apparently face Republican Nathan Hochman, a critic of his liberal policies, in November.

Gascon, elected after the May 2020 death of counterfeit-passing suspect George Floyd in Minneapolis, is one of many county prosecutors supported by billionaire George Soros. His policies include not charging juveniles as adults, not seeking higher penalties for gang membership or use of firearms, and bringing fewer misdemeanor cases.

The predictable result has been increased car thefts, burglaries, and personal robberies. Some 120 assistant district attorneys have left the office, and there’s a backlog of 10,000 unprosecuted cases.

More than a dozen other Soros-backed and similarly liberal prosecutors have faced strong opposition or have left office.

St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner resigned last May amid lawsuits seeking her removal, Milwaukee’s John Chisholm retired in January, and Baltimore’s Marilyn Mosby was defeated in July 2022 and convicted of perjury in September 2023. Last November, Loudoun County, Virginia, voters (62 percent Biden) ousted liberal Buta Biberaj, who declined to prosecute a transgender student for assault, and in June 2022 voters in San Francisco (85 percent Biden) recalled famed radical Chesa Boudin.

Similarly, this Tuesday, voters in San Francisco passed ballot measures strengthening police powers and requiring treatment of drug-addicted welfare recipients.

In retrospect, it appears the Floyd video, appearing after three months of COVID-19 confinement, sparked a frenzied, even crazed reaction, especially among the highly educated and articulate. One fatal incident was seen as proof that America’s “systemic racism” was worse than ever and that police forces should be defunded and perhaps abolished.

2020 was “the year America went crazy,” I wrote in January 2021, a year in which police funding was actually cut by Democrats in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. A year in which young New York Times (NYT) staffers claimed they were endangered by the publication of Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) opinion article advocating calling in military forces if necessary to stop rioting, as had been done in Detroit in 1967 and Los Angeles in 1992. A craven NYT publisher even fired the editorial page editor for running the article.

Evidence of visible and tangible discontent with increasing violence and its consequences—barren and locked shelves in Manhattan chain drugstores, skyrocketing carjackings in Washington, D.C.—is as unmistakable in polls and election results as it is in daily life in large metropolitan areas. Maybe 2024 will turn out to be the year even liberal America stopped acting crazy.

Chaos and disorder work against incumbents, as they did in 1968 when Democrats saw their party’s popular vote fall from 61 percent to 43 percent.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 23:20

Read More

Continue Reading


Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),




Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reviewed no data when deciding in 2023 to keep its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place.

Doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in Washington in a file image. (Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough said on May 1, 2023, that the end of many other federal mandates “will not impact current policies at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

He said the mandate was remaining for VA health care personnel “to ensure the safety of veterans and our colleagues.”

Mr. McDonough did not cite any studies or other data. A VA spokesperson declined to provide any data that was reviewed when deciding not to rescind the mandate. The Epoch Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act for “all documents outlining which data was relied upon when establishing the mandate when deciding to keep the mandate in place.”

The agency searched for such data and did not find any.

The VA does not even attempt to justify its policies with science, because it can’t,” Leslie Manookian, president and founder of the Health Freedom Defense Fund, told The Epoch Times.

“The VA just trusts that the process and cost of challenging its unfounded policies is so onerous, most people are dissuaded from even trying,” she added.

The VA’s mandate remains in place to this day.

The VA’s website claims that vaccines “help protect you from getting severe illness” and “offer good protection against most COVID-19 variants,” pointing in part to observational data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimate the vaccines provide poor protection against symptomatic infection and transient shielding against hospitalization.

There have also been increasing concerns among outside scientists about confirmed side effects like heart inflammation—the VA hid a safety signal it detected for the inflammation—and possible side effects such as tinnitus, which shift the benefit-risk calculus.

President Joe Biden imposed a slate of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in 2021. The VA was the first federal agency to implement a mandate.

President Biden rescinded the mandates in May 2023, citing a drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. His administration maintains the choice to require vaccines was the right one and saved lives.

“Our administration’s vaccination requirements helped ensure the safety of workers in critical workforces including those in the healthcare and education sectors, protecting themselves and the populations they serve, and strengthening their ability to provide services without disruptions to operations,” the White House said.

Some experts said requiring vaccination meant many younger people were forced to get a vaccine despite the risks potentially outweighing the benefits, leaving fewer doses for older adults.

By mandating the vaccines to younger people and those with natural immunity from having had COVID, older people in the U.S. and other countries did not have access to them, and many people might have died because of that,” Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine on leave from Harvard Medical School, told The Epoch Times previously.

The VA was one of just a handful of agencies to keep its mandate in place following the removal of many federal mandates.

“At this time, the vaccine requirement will remain in effect for VA health care personnel, including VA psychologists, pharmacists, social workers, nursing assistants, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, peer specialists, medical support assistants, engineers, housekeepers, and other clinical, administrative, and infrastructure support employees,” Mr. McDonough wrote to VA employees at the time.

This also includes VA volunteers and contractors. Effectively, this means that any Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employee, volunteer, or contractor who works in VHA facilities, visits VHA facilities, or provides direct care to those we serve will still be subject to the vaccine requirement at this time,” he said. “We continue to monitor and discuss this requirement, and we will provide more information about the vaccination requirements for VA health care employees soon. As always, we will process requests for vaccination exceptions in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.”

The version of the shots cleared in the fall of 2022, and available through the fall of 2023, did not have any clinical trial data supporting them.

A new version was approved in the fall of 2023 because there were indications that the shots not only offered temporary protection but also that the level of protection was lower than what was observed during earlier stages of the pandemic.

Ms. Manookian, whose group has challenged several of the federal mandates, said that the mandate “illustrates the dangers of the administrative state and how these federal agencies have become a law unto themselves.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 22:10

Read More

Continue Reading


Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate…



Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate iron levels in their blood due to a COVID-19 infection could be at greater risk of long COVID.


A new study indicates that problems with iron levels in the bloodstream likely trigger chronic inflammation and other conditions associated with the post-COVID phenomenon. The findings, published on March 1 in Nature Immunology, could offer new ways to treat or prevent the condition.

Long COVID Patients Have Low Iron Levels

Researchers at the University of Cambridge pinpointed low iron as a potential link to long-COVID symptoms thanks to a study they initiated shortly after the start of the pandemic. They recruited people who tested positive for the virus to provide blood samples for analysis over a year, which allowed the researchers to look for post-infection changes in the blood. The researchers looked at 214 samples and found that 45 percent of patients reported symptoms of long COVID that lasted between three and 10 months.

In analyzing the blood samples, the research team noticed that people experiencing long COVID had low iron levels, contributing to anemia and low red blood cell production, just two weeks after they were diagnosed with COVID-19. This was true for patients regardless of age, sex, or the initial severity of their infection.

According to one of the study co-authors, the removal of iron from the bloodstream is a natural process and defense mechanism of the body.

But it can jeopardize a person’s recovery.

When the body has an infection, it responds by removing iron from the bloodstream. This protects us from potentially lethal bacteria that capture the iron in the bloodstream and grow rapidly. It’s an evolutionary response that redistributes iron in the body, and the blood plasma becomes an iron desert,” University of Oxford professor Hal Drakesmith said in a press release. “However, if this goes on for a long time, there is less iron for red blood cells, so oxygen is transported less efficiently affecting metabolism and energy production, and for white blood cells, which need iron to work properly. The protective mechanism ends up becoming a problem.”

The research team believes that consistently low iron levels could explain why individuals with long COVID continue to experience fatigue and difficulty exercising. As such, the researchers suggested iron supplementation to help regulate and prevent the often debilitating symptoms associated with long COVID.

It isn’t necessarily the case that individuals don’t have enough iron in their body, it’s just that it’s trapped in the wrong place,” Aimee Hanson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge who worked on the study, said in the press release. “What we need is a way to remobilize the iron and pull it back into the bloodstream, where it becomes more useful to the red blood cells.”

The research team pointed out that iron supplementation isn’t always straightforward. Achieving the right level of iron varies from person to person. Too much iron can cause stomach issues, ranging from constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain to gastritis and gastric lesions.

1 in 5 Still Affected by Long COVID

COVID-19 has affected nearly 40 percent of Americans, with one in five of those still suffering from symptoms of long COVID, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Long COVID is marked by health issues that continue at least four weeks after an individual was initially diagnosed with COVID-19. Symptoms can last for days, weeks, months, or years and may include fatigue, cough or chest pain, headache, brain fog, depression or anxiety, digestive issues, and joint or muscle pain.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 12:50

Read More

Continue Reading