Horizon Therapeutics’ (HZNP) competitor Selecta Biosciences (SELB) reported results phase 2 of SEL-212 (pegadricase plus ImmTOR) which failed to beat Krystexxa in refractory gout patients. SEL-212 achieved a numerically better response rate at 3 and 6 months, but the results failed to reach statistical significance. SEL-212 results confirm its prior efficacy profile which is only moderately better than Krystexxa monotherapy and it does not represent an apples-to-apples comparison as SEL-212 has an unfair advantage of the addition of ImmTOR, Selecta’s immunomodulator, to pegadricase, which is the biologic candidate with the same mechanism of action as Krystexxa (pegloticase).

I believe SEL-212’s phase 2 results further solidify Krystexxa’s likely leading position in the refractory gout market given the emerging and very strong combination data of Krystexxa with approved immunomodulators (mainly methotrexate). I expect the combination to achieve much greater efficacy in the ongoing MIRROR study than SEL-212 will in its phase 3 study against placebo.

SEL-212 fails to significantly differentiate on efficacy and completely fails to differentiate on safety

Selecta’s initial pitch to investors on SEL-212 was not only that it should achieve better efficacy than Krystexxa, but that it will also have a better safety profile. In my article on Horizon last year, I noted this trial may not be relevant because of the MIRROR study where Horizon is studying Krystexxa and methotrexate combo. Not only was this trial not relevant, but it was also damaging to Selecta’s valuation given the primary endpoint failure, and it also turned out that there were no differences between SEL-212 and Krystexxa in the phase 2 study in treatment-related side effects, serious side effects, or infusion reactions.

On the efficacy side, Selecta once again resorted to per-protocol (‘PP’) assessments versus intent-to-treat (‘ITT’) assessments, though, granted, it did report ITT data as well. I will only

I wrote my last article on VanEck Vectors BDC Income ETF (BIZD) on July 10th. Since then, BIZD reached my target price of $12.27, and I began making preparations to liquidate my position. As I normally do, I updated my model, and while I was updating that model, I discovered that the managers at VanEck made some changes to BIZD’s portfolio. My projections for BIZD increased due to this change, changes in portfolio weights, and a decrease in BDC risks.

Table 1 – Alpha From BIZD Investment

BIZD r% RFR % S&P r% BETA ALPHA
22.9% 0.7% 17.2% 0.89 7.5%

Source: Public Data

As seen in Table 1, those who invested in BIZD in late April, when I made my first bullish call on the ETF, would have received an alpha of 7.5% from their investment. Both the BIZD and S&P 500 returns take into consideration dividends received during the analysis period.

Third-Quarter Dividend Distribution

BIZD announced on October 1st that it would distribute a dividend of $0.3603 to its shareholders. BIZD’s 3Q20 dividend was 6.3% less than its 2Q20 dividend and 1.9% less than its 3Q19 dividend.

Table 2 – 2019 and 2020 Dividends

2019 2020 Div. g%
1Q Dividends $0.4100 $0.3562 – 13.1%
2Q Dividends $0.3861 $0.3847 – 0.4%
3Q Dividends $0.3671 $0.3603 – 1.9%
4Q Dividends $0.3664 $0.3622* – 1.1%

Source: Seeking Alpha and analyst’s estimates (*)

What I find most interesting about the information in Table 2 is that the 1Q20 dividend is the main reason why BIZD’s yearly dividend distributions decreased by 4.3% (includes my estimated 4Q20 dividend). The 1Q20 dividend was declared on 04/01/2020, a couple of weeks after the stock market had declined due to the expectations that the novel coronavirus would harm the economy. Though I can’t prove it with the data

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