Outlook 2018

2018 should be another intensive year for BB Biotech, with many important clinical trial results and regulatory approvals expected to keep the biotechnology industry and our holdings in focus. We continue to expect new product launches and their uptake in the market to accelerate the already positive underlying growth in revenues and cash flows experienced by the industry and companies in our portfolio.

This in turn will enable continued investment in their research pipelines and catapult them to the next level of success, secured by increasingly diverse sources of growth. Acquisitions and alliances will remain an additional source of diversification and subsequent growth. While debate about drug pricing and changes to the Affordable Care Act that will likely reduce the number of insured individuals in the US will continue to cause some market uncertainty, we continue to believe that the innovation provided by the industry will improve the quality and potentially the overall cost of individual care, thereby supporting strong pricing.

Investors continue to be keenly focused on the market success of newly introduced individual products and product classes. Interest in the multi-billion-dollar launch of products serving patients with Hepatitis C across the world has diminished and been replaced by the category of the PCSK9 products , CAR-T products and PARP inhibitors. Individual products that launched in 2017 and will be monitored closely for their ability to meet full year sales expectations, for example Idhifa for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) from Agios/ or Ionis/Biogen’s Spinraza for spinal muscular atrophy.

Meanwhile, we expect a number of key approvals and launches from our portfolio companies in 2018, many of them in the areas of oncology and orphan diseases. The plethora of such approvals give us continued confidence in the double-digit revenue growth potential of the BB Biotech portfolio and the biotechnology industry as a whole. Research pipeline investment supports future value creation The large number of product approvals and successful product launches has enabled significant investment into the development of additional novel medicines that could dramatically change practice and improve the quality of life of patients suffering from underserved diseases. In 2017 alone, 46 new products were approved in the US, more than in any of the previous 20 years. Of these, 19 products were developed by biotech companies, 18 by the large pharmaceutical companies and 9 by speciality pharmaceuticals and generic companies. The EU recommendations totaled 35 new substances for 2017, with 14 stemming from biotech companies and 21 from the large and speciality pharmaceutical industry.

We are particularly excited about development stage companies that are investing in new technology platforms that provide the foundation for generating multiple candidates that could treat a variety of unique and diverse indications. These include Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Macrogenix, and Moderna. Companies with individual products that find clinical and market success in multiple indications over time are also of great interest as they provide a continued source of future growth following revenue stabilization in initial indications.

Alexion’s Soliris is a prime example, with the recent approval in myasthenia gravis and potential approval in neuromyelitis optica adding two layers of growth. Other examples from our portfolio include Incyte’s Jakafi, Tesaro’s Zejula, and CAR-T products from Celgene and Gilead.