• Shares companies working on COVID-19 treatments slid yesterday after Pfizer announced vaccine
  • Glovemaker Ansell and respiratory company Fisher & Paykel Healthcare shares were also down sharply
  • Overall the All Ordinaries was up 0.43 per cent on the vaccine news

Some ASX biotech companies that were working on COVID-19 treatments saw their share price drop yesterday now that a vaccine is in sight.

Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) shares dropped 7.3 per cent to $3.14 on Tuesday, while Cynata Therapeutics (ASX:CYP) fell 2.9 per cent to 84c.

Both companies are working on stem cell treatments to treat patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, a leading cause of death from COVID-19 infections. Mesoblast said last month that over 150 ventilator-dependent patients had been enrolled in a US trial of its remestemcel-L treatment, while Cynata in August began enrollment in its MEND (MEseNchymal coviD-19) trial.

Also falling on a day when the market was generally rising:

Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) dropped 3.7 per cent to 52c. The Sydney biotech announced on Thursday that a safety steering committee in the Republic of Moldova had cleared another 12 patients to be treated with its immono-oncology drug Veyonda, after the first six patients apparently suffered no ill effects.

– Starpharma (ASX:SPL) declined 7.2 per cent to $1.29. The company is testing an antiviral nasal spray as a defence against Covid infections, either before or after exposure to the virus.

CSL (ASX:CSL) slid 0.1 per cent to $304.60. The company, Australia’s largest, on Monday began manufacturing doses of a different vaccine, the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca candidate known as AZD1222. The Federal Government is paying the company to make the shot as part of a $1.7 billion deal announced in September.

Immutep (ASX:IMM) fell 6.8 per cent to 28c. A Czech hospital last month began testing its lead drug candidate “efti” on COVID-19 patients here, in a phase 2 medical study.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) dropped 12.1 per cent to $30.37, although their shares are still up 44 per cent year-to-date. The Kiwi respiratory care company has seen strong sales in part because its products have been used to treat COVID-19 patients.

Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) fell 5.9 per cent to $34.60. The company is one of the world’s largest pathology companies and has been involved in testing for COVID-19 patients.

Ansell (ASX:ANN) dropped 9.5 per cent to $38.82. The glovemaker in August reported full-year sales were up 7.7 per cent in part because of pandemic-related demand.

Overall the All Ordinaries index was up 0.43 per cent and the ASX200 up 0.7 per cent following Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) announcing their mRNA-based vaccine candidate has been more than 90 per cent effective in preventing coronavirus infections in a clinical trial involving 43,538 participants.

So far 94 participants have been infected with the novel coronavirus; the trial will continue until 164 confirmed COVID-19 cases have accrued.