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S. Korea’s remdesivir-themed stocks surge amid US FDA approval

(Gilead Sciences Korea)
(Gilead Sciences Korea)
Remdesivir-related South Korea’s bio firms’ stocks skyrocketed Friday, after the US Food and Drug Administration approved Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug as a treatment for the coronavirus overnight.

Shares of Pharmicell on the nation’s main bourse Kospi closed at 18,700 won ($16.50), up 2,600 won, or 16.15 percent, from the previous session’s close. The stock price once peaked at 20,150 won during early afternoon trading hours. The bio firm produces nucleoside, which is a base material of remdesivir.

The tech-heavy Kosdaq-listed Maxrotec’s stock also surged by the daily permissible limit of 30 percent to 3,510 won at the closing bell. Last month, the company acquired Sungwun Pharmacopia, which successfully developed the technology of remdesivir’s main pharmaceutical agent.

Remdesivir, under the brand name Veklury, has become the first and only fully FDA-approved COVID-19 treatment in the US. Earlier in May, the drug was granted emergency use authorization, allowing hospitals and doctors usage on patients hospitalized with the virus.

The drug has also been approved or authorized for temporary use as a coronavirus treatment in nearly 50 countries around the globe. It will be used for COVID-19 patients at least 12 years old and requiring hospitalization, Gilead said.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilead has worked relentlessly to help find solutions to this global health crisis,” Gilead Sciences Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel O’Day said.

“It is incredible to be in the position today, less than one year since the earliest case reports of the disease now known as COVID-19, of having an FDA-approved treatment in the US that is available for all appropriate patients in need.”

Besides the two local bio firms, shares of GeneOne Life Science also advanced by 800 won, or 3.09 percent, to 26,700 won. Stocks of Access Bio and Abpro Bio International closed at 28,700 won and 790 won, rising by 2.5 percent and 1.02 percent, respectively.

By Jie Ye-eun (
Korea Herald daum