Big gains for two ASX pharma stocks as investors stay on the hunt for potential COVID-19 solutions
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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Another round of ASX-listed pharma stocks came to market with new COVID-19 announcements this morning.
And the response from markets was broadly positive — an indication that virus-related health solutions are still viewed as a strong investment narrative in the current climate.
Leading the way was Nanoveu (ASX:NVU), which came out of a trading halt at 3:09pm yesterday and surged by more than 100 per cent in early trade this morning.
The company flagged research on an alternative use for its nanotechnology platform, which is the basis for its core EyeFly3D product that converts 2D digital displays into 3D.
But in the wake of COVID-19, the company said it had made advancements in a nanotechnology application with antiviral properties, that could be used as a protective layer on smartphone screens and cases.
With the high-touch nature of smartphones and tablets, Nanoveu said they were increasingly viewed as pathways for the spread of contagious diseases.
Initial testing on the top layer of the product showed it “to be effective against viruses and bacteria – including influenza A (subtype H3N2) and E. coli”, the company said.
It’s now procuring screens for a production run, and plans to have the product available by late Q2/early Q3 this year. A short time ago, the stock had risen 160 per cent in morning trade to 7.8c.
While the market for anti-bacterial screens isn’t new, Nanoveu said its product had a potential competitive advantage because it didn’t require repeated UV light treatment.
Pharmaceutical and life sciences company Starpharma (ASX:SPL) also performed strongly on the back of some COVID-19 news.
The stock rose by more than 25 per cent after reporting that its VivaGel, which includes the component astodrimer sodium (SPL7013), “has been shown in laboratory studies to have significant antiviral activity against the coronavirus”.
Starpharma said given that its VivaGel product already had regulatory approval in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia and South East Asia, it expected to be able to fast-track “certain aspects of develoment” for its SPL7013 solution to treat COVID-19 cases.
CEO Jackie Fairley said the company was now exploring a range of use-cases, including a “potential preventative application to reduce the risk of infection”.