Roche says its Actemra drug reduces the severity of COVID-19 in hospitalised patients

Roche says its Actemra drug reduces the severity of COVID-19 in hospitalised patients
Written by:
Wajeeh Khan
18th September, 19:52
  • Roche says its Actemra drug reduces the severity of COVID-19 in hospitalised patients.
  • The Swiss multinational healthcare company introduces a new COVID-19 test.
  • Roche's Tecentric-Avastin cocktail receives European approval for liver cancer patients.

Roche Holding AG (SWX: RO) remained in headlines on Friday as the company expressed confidence that according to a study, its drug Actemra is effective in minimising the severity of COVID-19 in hospitalised patients. The U.S. FDA also approved Roche’s CINtec PLUS Cytology test for expanded use earlier this week to aid clinicians in preventing cervical cancer.

Shares of the company gained roughly 1% in the stock market on Friday. Roche closed the regular session at £290 per share. In comparison, the company had slid to as low as £227.27per share in March when the impact of COVID-19 was at its peak.

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At the start of the year, Roche was reported trading at £264 per share. Trading stocks online is easier than you think. Here’s how you can buy shares online in 2020.

As per the Empacta phase III trial, Roche said, the use of Actermra slashes the risk among such patients of needing ventilators or dying by about 44%. The trial was conducted in multiple countries, including the U.S.

 Earlier this year, Roche had failed in late-stage clinical testing in hospitalised patients with severe pneumonia related to COVID-19.

Roche introduces a new COVID-19 test

Roche also introduced a new antibody test on Friday for COVID-19 that has so far infected more than 30 million people worldwide and caused a little under one million deaths. According to the drugmaker, as the Coronavirus infiltrates the human body, its spike results in the production of unique antibodies. The new test, Roche said, identifies these antibodies to detect COVID-19.  

The Swiss company highlighted on Friday that it was seeking emergency approval for its new COVID-19 test in the United States. It is currently available in countries that accept the CE mark. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given emergency authorisation to Roche’s previous COVID-19 test in March.

Roche’s liver cancer drug receives European approval

In related news, the Basel-based firm said its Tecentric-Avastin cocktail received a nod from a European Medicines Agency panel on Friday to be used in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. The European Commission, Roche was confident, will approve the drug on panel’s recommendation in the upcoming months.  

Roche performed fairly upbeat in the stock market last year with an annual gain of more than 25%. At the time of writing, it is valued at £254 billion and has a price to earnings ratio of 22.80.

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