Fear of big pharmas

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Big pharma is one of the losers in the pandemic. With the exception of Pfizer, which is doing well thanks to its agreement with BioNTech, and partially AstraZeneca, the drug giants have not provided the hoped-for solutions in the fight against Covid-19. The two Basel groups are no exception. On the stock market, it’s a bit of a grimace soup. Roche and Novartis lost 7% in one year, while the SMI index of large Swiss stocks appreciated by 15% and the S&P 500 US equity index by 47%.

“The multinationals of the pharma need to justify themselves”, the headline Monday the NZZ. On a drug market of 900 billion francs, it is the biotechs which, by their flexibility, their small size and their concentration on a small number of therapies, have performed well in recent months. Moreover, the Nasdaq biotech index has gained 23% in one year. Of the 17,500 new drugs, only 5% come from pharma giants, against 14% in 2010, according to the Zurich daily. In the stock market, negativity is sometimes an opportunity to be seized. Too much pessimism with regard to Roche and Novartis?