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BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN) and Other Top New Picks of Healthcare-Focused Visium Asset Management

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Jacob Gottlieb‘s Visium Asset Management has recently revealed its equity positions as of the end of the fourth quarter in a 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We will take a closer look at the top five newly initiated positions, all of which seem to be in the healthcare sector, which is not very surprising considering the fact that 59.5% of the fund’s investments are represented by healthcare stocks. Among Visium’s largest new holdings are stakes in BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN)Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE:LH)Humana Inc (NYSE:HUM)Prosensa Holding NV (NASDAQ:RNA), and Sientra Inc (NASDAQ:SIEN).

Jacob Gottlieb - Visium Asset Management

Jacob Gottlieb’s strong background in medicine, which includes his medical doctorate (MD) degree from New York University Medical School provides him with a strong edge in picking up healthcare stocks. After considerable experience as a portfolio manager in a number of investment firms, Gottlieb founded Visium Asset Management in 2005. Visium’s second largest sector in terms of investment is finance. It contributes about 11% to the fund’s portfolio. The value of Visium’s portfolio stood at $7.08 billion, which compares to its $6.77 billion value at the end of the third quarter. Regulatory assets under the fund’s management stood at $12.01 billion.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN) was the largest position initiated by Gottlieb during the fourth quarter. He bought 988,400 shares valued at $89.35 million. The stake comprises 1.26% of the fund’s portfolio value. Julian Baker and Felix Baker‘s Baker Bros. Advisors also increased its holding by a significant 57% during the same period. That stake constituted 3.42% of Baker Bros.’ portfolio and comprised 3.71 million shares valued at $335.74 million.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN) is up nearly 20% year-to-date amid strong financial results for the fourth quarter. The pharmaceutical developer for serious diseases and medical conditions delivered a net loss of $0.47 per share, beating estimates by $0.12. Revenues of $230.9 million were also $41.89 million higher than anticipated.

Gottlieb added call options to acquire 500,000 shares of Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE:LH)‘s stock to his portfolio. With a market value of $53.95 million, the stake was worth 0.76% of the portfolio value. In addition, Visium also holds a long position in Laboratory Corp to which it added 1.78 million shares, bringing the total stake to 2.81 million shares valued at $302.90 million.

Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE:LH) recently acquired the drug development service company, Covance in a transaction that cost about $6.2 billion. Another acquisition was made in December, of Bode Technology Group for an undisclosed sum, with the the aim of enhancing Laboratory Corp.’s DNA testing services. The stock is up nearly 14% year-to-date.

Visium initiated a stake in Humana Inc (NYSE:HUM) by purchasing 293,700 shares valued at $42.19 million. The provider of health insurance and Medicare plans has piqued the interest of hedge funds during the fourth quarter. Out of a total of 737 hedge funds that we track at Insider Monkey, 49 had around $2.28 billion worth of  Humana Inc (NYSE:HUM)’s stock at the end of the fourth quarter. This compares with 34 hedge funds that held $2.06 billion worth of stock a quarter earlier.

Larry Robbins of Glenview Capital and Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management are two other stakeholders of Humana. Glenview owns 2.21 million shares valued at $317.11 million, AQR Capital has about 2.15 million shares valued at $308.77 million.

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