FILE PHOTO: Moderna’s logo is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this November 9, 2020 illustration. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / illustration
19th November 2020
By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON (Reuters) – A number of hedge funds sold positions in two drug companies that led the race for a coronavirus vaccine during the quarter, before both announced breakthroughs that lifted their share prices, while some acquired shares in the companies during that time.
Filings show that hedge funds sold millions of shares in drug makers Moderna and BioNtech in the third quarter and missed big profits this month when everyone announced their vaccines were more than 94% effective.
Since the end of the third quarter, BioNtech’s stock is up another 26% and Moderna’s stock is up 28%. This has contributed to triple digit percentage gains and has counted them among the biggest winners this year, with the S&P 500 bouncing 60% off March lows.
By the end of September, Balyasny Asset Management, Adage Capital Partners and Verition Fund Management had left their positions in Moderna, while Healthcor Management, Logos Global Management and Duquesne Family Office left positions in BioNtech. This is evident from official documents and data from the research company Symmetric. ok
Redmile Group, BioNtech’s largest hedge fund investor, trimmed holdings 59% in the quarter and Theleme Partners, Moderna’s largest hedge fund investor, trimmed its exposure by 11%.
In addition, Millennium Management, Myriad Asset Management and Citadel have cut holdings in Moderna, while Citadel, Balyasny and Schonfeld Strategic Advisors have cut holdings in BioNtech.
Symmetric.io’s data shows that hedge funds owned 3.4 million shares of BioNtech, a German company that has partnered with Pfizer to bring its vaccine to market. At the end of the quarter there were 1.9 million fewer shares than at the beginning of the quarter. At Moderna, hedge funds owned 11.7 million shares at the end of the quarter, down 2.2 million shares from the start.
Moderna’s share price has surged 376% since January, while BioNtech’s has soared 157%, well outperforming the S&P 500 index, which was up 12% after bouncing back from deep losses in early 2020.
Fund representatives declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment on the causes of the sale. Investors pouring money into hedge funds, including some of those mentioned in the article, said some fund managers had started making profits ahead of the US election due to concerns about the potential market volatility resulting from the November 3rd vote.
The average hedge fund gained 1.2% through October, while healthcare-focused funds gained 13% on average, according to Hedge Fund Research.
Although certain hedge funds took money away from Moderna and BioNtech, the two companies attracted new hedge fund investors during the quarter, the data shows.
Voloridge Investment Management and LMR Partners initiated new positions in Moderna, while Armistice Capital and Adage Capital took new positions in BioNtech. And Millennium increased its investment in BioNtech while D.E. Shaw increased its stake in Moderna, the records show.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; editing by Ira Iosebashvili and David Gregorio)
This article originally appeared on www.oann.com