Roche jumps 2% after unveiling COVID-19 antibody test, and on finding its drugs cut need for ventilators

Roche jumps 2% after unveiling COVID-19 antibody test, and on finding its drugs cut need for ventilators
FILE PHOTO: Roche tablets are seen in front of a Roche logo in this photo illustration shot January 22, 2016.   REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo
Roche tablets are seen positioned in front of a displayed Roche logo in this photo illustration.
Reuters

  • Shares in Swiss healthcare group Roche rose 2% on Friday after the company launched a new test to measure COVID-19 antibodies, and provided evidence its drugs reduce need for ventilators.
  • The new measure is Roche’s 12th test in its coronavirus portfolio. The company has filed for emergency-use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.
  • In a separate study, the healthcare firm found its drugs reduce the likelihood that patients with coronavirus-related pneumonia require ventilation.
  • Patients taking one of its drugs were 44% less likely to need ventilators, or succumb to death, the company said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Shares in Swiss healthcare group Roche jumped 2% on Friday to three-month highs after it launched a test that quantitatively measures COVID-19 antibodies, and said separately studies show its drugs reduce patient need for ventilators.

Roche said its new test targets antibodies against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and can determine a vaccine-induced immune response.

“As the possibility of an effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine becomes a reality, quantitative measurement of antibodies will be crucial in the evaluation of any potential vaccine,” CEO of Roche Diagnostics, Thomas Schinecker, said in a statement. 

Roche shares, which trade on the Swiss SIX exchange, were last up 2% on the day at 343.40 Swiss francs ($ here pls), their highest since June. The rise helped offset broad declines in the energy and banking sectors, along with gains in shares of rival Novartis, which gained 1.7%. The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.3% on Friday.

The new measure would be Roche’s 12th test in its coronavirus portfolio, and the company has filed for emergency-use authorization from the US FDA. COVID-19 has killed almost a million people around the world since it broke out at the start of this year.

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In a separate study, the healthcare firm found its drugs reduce the likelihood that patients with coronavirus-related pneumonia require ventilation.

Patients taking one of its drugs were 44% less likely to need ventilators or succumb to death, Roche said, citing a study conducted in countries including the US, South Africa, Brazil, and Mexico.

“The EMPACTA trial demonstrated that Actemra/RoActemra can reduce the need for mechanical ventilation in patients with COVID-19 associated pneumonia, an important outcome in this serious disease,” Levi Garraway, Roche’s chief medical officer, said in a statement.

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