# 690 – 🦠 Cancer treatments get personal – The Average Joe

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    # 690 – 🦠 Cancer treatments get personal

    victorlei

    May 8, 2024

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    Good morning. If you’ve checked your credit card statement lately, you’ve probably noticed prices seem to be climbing higher. It’s especially painful shelling out for those things you’ll only need a few times — like a carpet cleaner or those baby clothes that’ll fit for a blink. Enter the Library of Things — London-based libraries that let you borrow just about anything.

    It’s one of those ideas that’s so logical you wonder why it’s not everywhere yet — so here’s hoping more communities embrace this idea stateside, making borrowing everyday items as common as borrowing books from the library.


    BIOTECH

    Moderna Charts Its Return To Growth With Personalized Cancer Treatments

    Moderna ($MRNA) hit the jackpot by delivering what the world needed most: a ticket back to normalcy. Now, it’s aiming for another game-changer — offering hope to those battling cancer for a shot at reclaiming their lives.

    Two-shot wonder: With Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine no longer in high demand, sales of its only product have cratered. The latest numbers show a whopping 91% drop in revenue compared to the same quarter last year. But investors aren’t fretting over the dip; they’re already looking ahead to Moderna’s next act.

    • Moderna’s betting on a rebound, projecting a “return to revenue growth” by 2025 — with the long-awaited approval of its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine this year.

    • With ongoing late-stage vaccine trials for Epstein-Barr, Varicella-Zoster virus, and norovirus, the company expects additional product launches to boost sales by 2026.

    It’s getting personal (cancer treatments)

    Moderna’s most promising frontier might be in personalized cancer vaccines, offering potential cures for kidney, pancreatic, and breast cancers without the grueling side effects of chemotherapy. Moderna’s Kyle Holen told Axios that this treatment “basically trains our immune system to know what to fight.” And with cancer rates rising among the youth, these personalized treatments can’t come soon enough.

    • Last month, Moderna and Merck ($MRK) started phase 3 international trials for the world’s first mRNA treatment for melanoma, which impacts 132K people yearly and is the deadliest US skin cancer.

    • This groundbreaking vaccine primes the immune system to target the patient’s unique cancer, cutting the risk of recurrence in half, as shown in phase 2 trials.

    Race against money: Breakthroughs in CRISPR and targeted therapies, which identify and attack specific cancer cells, have sparked hope among patients and investors alike. In the past year, big pharma has made several large acquisitions to ramp up drug portfolios ahead of an impending patent cliff — with many focusing their efforts on cancer drugs. While many of these treatments are still in early-stage trials, it’s a promising time for cancer patients, and Moderna hopes it can parlay that to secure its next success before its COVID cash pile runs dry.


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    LARGECAP RECAP

    🍎 Apple’s new M4 chips signal better days ahead for investors

    Yesterday, Apple ($AAPL) unveiled its newest iPad lineup powered by its cutting-edge M4 chip, hailed by CEO Tim Cook as an “outrageously powerful chip for AI.” Starting at $1,299, the new iPad Pro will also be the most expensive model, boasting the M4 chip’s ability to handle 38T operations per second — double that of the base M3. Smartphone manufacturers anticipate AI advancements could unlock fresh applications, enhancing security and speed.

    • Tech companies have pushed to introduce AI-driven smartphones this year in an effort to rejuvenate sluggish device sales — which sent Apple to its first annual sales decline since 2019, prompting a pivotal shift in strategy.

    • This move could potentially trigger a much-awaited upgrade cycle across Apple’s product range, which is crucial for its stock performance, up just 5% over the past year and has underperformed both the S&P 500 and other tech giants.

    Unlimited power at your fingertips: Qualcomm ($QCOM), a key chip supplier for smartphone makers, has experienced a significant surge thanks to the rise of AI devices. Over the past year, the company’s stock has soared by nearly 70% — fueled by the launch of Samsung’s AI-enabled Android phones earlier in the year. This momentum is already translating into tangible results. According to Counterpoint Research, unit sales of Samsung’s latest AI-enhanced S24 phone increased by 8% during the first three weeks after launch compared to the previous version during the same period (WSJ). This positive trend bodes well for Apple investors, who are having their patience tested to the limits.

    🐭 Disney+ is becoming less of a drag for House of Mouse

    Disney ($DIS) is where dreams come true — and Bob Iger is inching closer to his dream of a profitable streaming service. Last quarter, Disney’s streaming losses shrunk to just $18M — a vast improvement from the $659M loss in the same period the previous year. Iger took decisive action, streamlining Disney+ by trimming content for tax benefits, scaling back production, and reducing marketing spend. So, why did Disney’s stock plummet 10% yesterday?

    • Despite the good news, $DIS had its worst trading day in years as analysts fretted over the faster-than-expected decline in traditional TV revenues.

    • Plus, investors frowned upon some hefty expenses on Disney’s balance sheet — like a $2B charge related to the Star India deal and the expensive new cruise ship.

    Let the games begin: ESPN’s operating income dropped by 9% last quarter due to dwindling cable subscribers — underscoring the pressing need for Disney to crack the sports streaming market. The first move is integrating ESPN into the Disney+ app, slated for later this year. Disney is also gearing up for its sports streaming bundle alongside Fox ($FOX) and Warner Brothers-Discovery ($WBD). With Iger’s tenure winding down, he’s adopting an aggressive stance — but will it be enough to outrun Amazon’s ($AMZN) push into sports?


    JOE’S MARKET PULSE

    🔗 UBS / Crocs

    The indicator that called Nvidia at the start of 2023: Chaikin’s Power Gauge flashed “buy” on Tesla before it climbed 335%, Moderna before it climbed 300%, and Riot Blockchain before it climbed 10,090%. It also found NVIDIA at the start of 2023… before its massive bull run. Is the system flashing bullish or bearish on your favorite stocks? See it for free here.*

    Markets & Economy

    Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller pares back Nvidia ($NVDA) bet: “I just need a break,” said Druckenmiller on Squawk Box, apparently exhausted by all those blockbuster Nvidia earnings. He figures AI might be a tad overhyped in the short run. [Read]

    Nintendo ($NTDOY) posts bleak profit outlook: Can the Switch 2 rescue the gaming company’s expected 24% operating income drop in the year to Mar. 2025? It’ll have to — though company leaders only said there’ll be an announcement about the new console sometime this year. Stay patient, gamers. [Read]

    How are US consumers doing in 2024? By the looks of it, folks are still spending on experiences with lots of summer travel plans. But they’re pulling back on discretionary spending as food prices remain high. [Read]

    Business & Wealth

    Experts worry Blackstone’s ($BX) BREIT is a house of cards: Its commercial real estate fund has been a hit with investors — but some veteran analysts believe the returns are inflated, with some going as far as calling it a “textbook Ponzi scheme.” [Read]

    Uber ($UBER) and Instacart ($CART) team up to take on DoorDash ($DASH): Now, you’ll be able to order Uber Eats straight from the Instacart app. Instacart pockets a fee for each order from Uber, while Uber gains another avenue to reach customers — potentially nibbling into DoorDash’s industry-leading market share. [Read]

    Record low share of renters expect to own a home: Just 13.4% of current renters believe they’ll one day be able to afford a home — and rising rental prices aren’t making things any easier. [Read]

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    DIGIT OF THE DAY

    Gen Z’s Credit Card Debt Climbs 26% in a Decade, No Relief in Sight

    Gen Z, your credit score called — and it wants a better relationship. Young Americans (aged 22 to 24) are kicking off their careers with more credit card debt than earlier generations, driven by sky-high housing and food costs. By the final quarter of 2023, their average credit card balance surged to $2,834 — a jump from $2,248 back in 2013. Thanks to inflation, credit cards aren’t just a convenience anymore; they’re becoming essential.

    • Over the last two years, rising interest rates and delinquencies have dragged down credit scores — especially for Gen Zs with scores over 720, witnessing an average drop of 24 points.

    • As of Mar. 2024, only a mere 3% of consumers aged 27 or below opened new credit card accounts — a decline from nearly 5% back in Mar. 2020, according to VantageScore.

    Don’t get trapped: Millennials and Gen Z are getting caught in the “money dysmorphia” trap — where their misunderstanding of their financial situation leads them to make poor decisions. They're so preoccupied with scraping together enough for homes and paying off student loans that they’re prioritizing immediate enjoyment over long-term savings — even if it means diving into debt.


    EXTRA JOE

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