When you're on the hunt for winning stocks, you should be looking for one word, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Monday in a special episode on location in San Francisco. That word is innovation. And nowhere is investable innovation more palpable than in the biotech and pharma sectors.
Many investors equate technology with innovation, but over the past few years, game-changing innovation in tech has been rare. In pharma however, there's a lot going on, as many companies have stopped producing boring products designed solely to extend patent protections and are instead swinging for the fences with revolutionary, must-have treatments.
Then there's Novartis (NVS) , which is divesting its consumer products to focus solely on its pipeline of 26 new drugs that could potentially yield billions in annual revenues. Even GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) -- once a sleepy income stock -- is now a fountain of innovation.
That's why Cramer is attending the annual JPMorgan Chase (JPM) healthcare conference all this week, to listen, to learn and to find out where the best innovations are working.
Over on Real Money, Cramer looks at pharma deals that are game changers. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Executive Decision: Novartis
In his first "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Dr. Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis, one of the companies leading in innovation.
Narasimhan said Novartis makes consistent investments into research and development every year and that's evident in the 26 drugs currently in the company's pipeline. Innovation involves making long-term bets on completely new types of treatments, he added, which is why you're seeing Novartis moving into areas such as gene therapies that can offer patients cures instead of prolonged treatments. That's also why Novartis is spinning off its eye care business, Alcon, in order to focus on its drug pipeline.
Narasimhan was bullish on many of their upcoming treatments, including those for migraines. He said their partnership with Amgen (AMGN) is allowing new treatments to patients around the globe. Novartis also has promising drugs on the horizon to treat arthritis and even heart failure.
Novartis is also developing targeted cancer treatments with all-new delivery techniques to ensure the latest drugs reach their intended destinations.
Why Semis Turned Around
After weeks of seemingly endless declines, a few sectors managed to rally Monday, Cramer told viewers. Those included retail, oil and of course, healthcare, but it also included the semiconductor stocks. That's because Micron Technology (MU) caught an analyst upgrade, signaling that the group might finally be too cheap to own.
Semiconductors historically have boom-and-bust cycles, so it's not surprising that after declining since October, someone finally decided Micron was cheap at just four times earnings.
Among the rubble in the semiconductor sector, Cramer said he likes Intel (INTC) the most, followed by Broadcom (AVGO) , Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Texas Instruments (TXN) , which now sports a 3.3% yield.
As for Micron, Cramer said he expects one more bad quarter from the company before we see a turn, but by then investors might already be too late.
Cramer and the AAP team are trimming their position in Raytheon (RTN) and Kohl's (KSS) . Find out what they're telling their investment club members and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
Executive Decision: Amgen
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also sat down with Bob Bradway, chairman and CEO of Amgen, an Action Alerts PLUS holding.
Bradway started off talking about Aimovig, Amgen's treatment for migraines. He said the drug was the first of its kind to specifically target chronic migraine sufferers, 85% of which are women of working and child-bearing age. The drug already has over 150,000 patients and is seeing incredible results.
Amgen also announced today that it is lowering the price of Repatha, its new cholesterol-lowering treatment, by 60%. Bradway said the drug is a game-changer, but they realized that some patients were struggling to pay for it. This price adjustment will make it affordable for a much wider audience.
Turning to the business side of Amgen, Bradway said they continue to forecast both revenue and earnings per share growth, thanks in part to their exciting innovations. They also remain committed to returning capital to shareholders via their dividend and share repurchase programs.
Executive Decision: Bausch Health
In his final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer also sat down with Joe Papa, chairman and CEO of Bausch Health Companies (BHC) , formerly Valeant.
Papa explained that Bausch has increased their research and development spending and is once again focused on innovation and organic growth. They are not only making a difference in patients' lives but they're also saving the healthcare system money by improving outcomes. Bausch's announcement last month that they're buying Synergy Pharma for $200 million is one more step in that direction.
When asked about the company's leverage, Papa admitted that they're still over-leveraged at seven times, but they have a plan to get out of the debt by growing earnings and they're executing on that plan every quarter.
Finally, Papa talked about Lumify, their latest product for relieving redness in the eyes. He said Lumify launched in May and already as 25% market share in the category, thanks to an all-new formulation that is simply better than the older, existing options.
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