MSD’s oral Covid-19 cure raises investor appetite in HK inno. N

2021.10.06 13:30:43 | 2021.10.06 13:31:10

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HK inno. N shares continue to fly Wednesday after a 30 percent jump in the previous trade as investors bet on the company’s potential benefit as a local distributor of U.S. MSD’s seven vaccine products in Korea after MSD announced positive interim results of a Phase 3 study of its oral Covid-19 cure molnupiravir.

They are 12.5 percent higher at 76,700 won on the Kosdsaq market whose index retreated 1.9 percent as of 1:00 p.m.

Investors have turned eyes to MSD-related companies and local oral therapy developers from vaccine CMO manufacturers following market expectations that MSD’s oral treatment, if approved, could be a game changer against the infectious disease.

Most of vaccine CMO stocks such as Samsung Biologics, SK Bioscience and Green Cross in contrast were shunned.

Celltrion shares also remained in negative territory despite its announcement of an application for formal approval of its injectable antibody therapy for Covid-19 in Europe.

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Experts said oral therapies would accelerate the shift to “living with Covid-19” and faster normalization of everyday lives.

Coronavirus stocks may be alienated during the migration and a short-term correction would be inevitable for the pharmaceutical sector, but the situation would be positive for other biotech firms unrelated to Covid-19 therapy development, said Huh Hye-min, a Kiwoom Securities researcher.

Skepticism however exists. MSD’s oral formulation may fall short of becoming a game changer because of its high price that could limit its use to only high-risk patients, said Park So-yeon, investment strategy head at Shinyoung Securities.

The drug is a cure, not a prophylactic, and the reduction in hospitalization and mortality rates was about 50 percent, not 100 percent, and this means it remains to be seen with a focus on data itself, said Park Byung-gook, an NH Investment & Securities researcher.

By Kang Bong-jin and Minu Kim

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