We attended the 13th International Conference on Alzheimer`s & Parkinson’s Diseases in Vienna. Messages we received from the meeting are very encouraging, but patience for new therapies will be needed. Participants felt that we are on the verge of something.
Excitement in the Alzheimer’s Disease (Alzheimer’s) community for Biogen’s aducanumab (anti-abeta antibody) data remains high, as for the first time a disease modifying agent yielded a clinically relevant signal in 2015. The community seems to agree, that the recent failures of Lilly’s solanezumab (another anti-abeta antibody) and Merck’s BACE inhibitor do not question the current understanding of the disease but will help to positively influence future initiatives. Recent research work recognises that Alzheimer’s is a highly heterogenous disease – every patient is different – and that several disease mechanisms are at play.
In April, Healthcare rebounded after a subdued Q1, with the MSCI World Healthcare NR Index gaining 3.8% during the month. The MSCI World NR Index increased 4.7%. Re-opening/cyclical sectors suffered a temporary sharp selloff during the month. 10-year Treasury yields also backed down (from a peak of 1.74% at March-end to 1.64% today), potentially indicating some risk that it is too early to sound the all-clear on COVID-19.
Global equity markets remained volatile throughout the month due to news surrounding re-opening of economies, upward moving Treasury rates, fears of new COVID-19 waves and political/medical interfering with AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The MSCI World Healthcare NR Index gained 2.5% in March, while the MSCI World NR Index rose 3.3.
The MSCI World Healthcare NR Index returned -2.7% in February, while the MSCI World NR Index rose 2.6%. During the last week of the month, many sectors took a hit because of rising 10-year Treasury rates (now at their highest levels in a year), enhancing on one hand the attractiveness of bonds vs. Equities and on the other hand propelling cyclical stocks.