Shares of biotech stock Incyte (INCY) have been down significantly in 2021. For the year to date, as of the close on March 2, the shares were down 8.45%. In the last month they’ve tumbled 12.42%.
So what’s wrong?
Pretty much nothing. With the individual stock anyway.
What we’re watching is a lot of selling in the biotech sector as part of the recent sell-off on risk. And on substantial profit taking.
The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) closed at $146.82 today, down another 3.15% at the close. The ETF is now below its 20-day moving average at $159.29 (as of the close on February 17) and it moved below the 50-day moving average at $153.40 on February 22.
This shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone who noticed the huge run up in the sector–fueled by speculative bets on Covid and gene editing stocks. On November 2, the SBI index was at $112.16. On February 8 if closed at a high of $173.99. That’s a gain of $61.23 a share or 54.4%.
The drop from the February 12 high is $27.17 share or 15.6%. Deep into correction territory but not exactly a bear market for the stock, especially given its performance since November.
Now switch your attention from the sector to Incyte itself.
The company reported fourth quarter earnings on February 9. Earnings of 93 cents a share (excluding non-recurring items) beat the Wall Street projection of 82 cents a share. And was up from earnings of 65 cents a share in the fourth quarter of 2019. Revenue of $789.51 million was p from revenue in the fourth quarter of $579.379 million and beat the Wall Street projection by almost 18%. Revenue grew by 36% year over year.
As solid as those results were–yes, Incyte is a biotech that actually makes money–the important developments for me were news on the company’s progress in moving beyond its core Jakafi revenue. It would considerably de-risk this stock if Incyte became less of a one-drug pony.
Not that there was anything wrong with the numbers on Jakafi this last quarter. Jakafi revenue grew by 11% year over year, a slowdown in growth for the drug that the company attributed to the coronavirus pandemic and its disruption of the healthcare system. (Company revenue was increased by milestone and collaboration revenue payments of $110 million.) For the full 2021 year the company guided toward Jakafi revenue of $2.125 billion to $2.2 billion. Growthin Jakafi revenue comes as the company succeeds in adding new indications to the drug’s label. The big news will come from the company’s Limber program which is developing a once-daily form of Jakafi with approval possible in 2022. That dosing schedule would enable Incyte to find new fixed-dose combinations with other drugs for Jakafi.
To me the non-Jakafi news was even more positive for the stock’s future. The company projected net revenue for the year of $145 million to $160 million from its hematology/oncology drugs Iclusig and Pemazyre. And in the conference call Incyte discussed the potential for topical ruxolitinib cream for vitiligo. (Vitiligo is a long-term skin condition characterized by patches of the skin losing their pigment. 2 to 4 million people in the United States have vitiligo but only 150,000 to 200,000 are currently on any treatment because of a lack of effective therapies.) That drug had completed Phase III enrollment in vitiligo with results expected in 2021. Regulatory approval in atopic dermatitis could come in mid-2021.
Incyte continued to show progress on its drug pipeline focused on oncology and other autoimmune indications. Incyte’s PI3K-delta inhibitor parsaclisib is being combined with Jakafi in pivotal myelofibrosis trials. In July 2020 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval of lymphoma drug Monjuvi (part of a collaboration with MorphoSys), and studies are in progress testing the drug in earlier-stage patients. Incyte also received U.S. approval of Pemazyre (pemigatinib) in cholangiocarcinoma in April 2020. Incyte is also on track to receive approval of its PD-1 antibody retifanlimab in 2021, first in a niche indication (anal cancer) but moving into broader indications and potential combination regimens. Trial results for parsaclisib in relapsed indolent lymphoma are encouraging, and I expect Incyte to file for approval in the United States in the second half of 2021.
Morningstar calculates that U.S. sales will hit $2.2 billion in 2021, which is near the high end of the company’s own guidance. In the longer term Incyte expects revenue to grow to $3 billion by 2027. That’s a bump up from prior company guidance of $2.5 billion to $3 billion.
Incyte is a member of both my Jubak Picks and Volatility Portfolios. The stocks is up 76.38% since I added it to Jubak Picks on April 7, 2014. It is up only 2.01% since I added it to the Volatility Portfolio on January 25, 2019.
As of March 2, I’m keeping my target price at $120 a share in my Jubak Picks portfolio.
Full discosure: I own shares of Incyte in my personal portfolios.