December 14, 2020 at 10:39AM
Swiss biotech firm Relief Therapeutics has seen its share price climb by 38,000% so far this year, as it develops a drug focused on respiratory failure arising from severe Covid-19. Last week, the company, along with U.S. partner NeuroRx, met the 165 patient enrollment target agreed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in their ongoing phase 2b/3 trial of RLF-100, which is a patented version of aviptadil.
Aviptadil is a synthetic formulation of a naturally occurring peptide called Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP), which is primarily concentrated in the lungs and works to reset the immune system response along with serving as a vasodilator and boosting the production of surfactant in the lungs, which enables blood oxygen transfer.
RLF-100 has been around since 2000, when it was developed to treat acute respiratory distress and other lung conditions and subsequently acquired by Biogen. Earlier this year, Relief scientists discovered that it could protect the cell that is attacked by the Covid-19 virus.
The 38,000% increase figure largely represents the small scale of the initial share price, which sat at just under 0.40 Swiss francs per share as of Friday afternoon. In contrast, shares of multinational Roche are worth 306 Swiss francs.
Other therapeutics being tested on patients with more moderate symptoms have been purchased by government agencies seeking to combat the pandemic, with the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed placing orders for Gilead’s remdesivir and Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab.
Selvaraju revealed that Relief Therapeutics and NeuroRx had been in contact with Operation Warp Speed and said if the drug successfully proves its efficacy in seriously ill patients following phase three randomized testing, the company expects to receive stockpiling orders on a similar scale to the likes of Gilead and Eli Lilly. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.
A Swiss biotech firm developing a Covid treatment has seen its share price soar 38,000% this year, CNBC, Dec 14
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