Shares in Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi & Co climbed over news that the US government is in talks to acquire supplies of its experimental Covid-19 treatment.
The shares jumped as much as 2.7% after a Shionogi spokesperson confirmed it is in talks with Washington over its production systems and supplies.
The company has global aspirations for the antiviral pill S-217622, now being evaluated by Japanese regulators.
Shionogi said in March it would launch a global Phase III trial worldwide with US government support, and chief executive Isao Teshirogi has said production could reach 10 million doses a year.
Shionogi’s shares have been on a roller coaster on speculation about success of the treatment.
The stock sank by as much as 16% on April 13 on reports that the drug could pose risks to pregnancies, based on preclinical data.
Shionogi said it had observed “foetal skeletal morphological abnormalities” during the study but added that they were made”at doses higher than the clinical dose, exceeding the expected human blood concentration and administration period”.
Pregnant, lactating, and potentially pregnant women are typically excluded from clinical trials, it added. “Shionogi believes that this matter would not affect the decision for approval of S-217622.”
If approved in Japan, the drug would become the country’s third antiviral cleared for coronavirus patients, following those developed by Pfizer and Merck & Co.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell