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India’s Divi’s Labs hits record high on Merck’s positive trial data for COVID-19 drug – Metro US

India’s Divi’s Labs hits record high on Merck’s positive trial data for COVID-19 drug

FILE PHOTO: The Merck logo is seen at a gate
FILE PHOTO: The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Rahway, New Jersey

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Shares of India’s Divi’s Laboratories Ltd, which makes the main ingredient of Merck & Co’s experimental antiviral pill, soared 10% on Monday, after the pharmaceutical giant reported positive clinical trial results for the drug.

Global drugmaker Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on Friday said molnupiravir could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, according to the data released by the companies hailed as a “potential breakthrough” by experts.

The news sent Divi shares up as much as 10% to a record high, which boosted the Nifty Pharma Index 2.4% to an all time peak. Divi’s in May had said it was an authorised active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) maker for molnupiravir and is allowed to supply the API to Merck’s partners in India.

Shares of generic drugmakers Cipla, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Torrent Pharmaceuticals, which are jointly conducting a clinical trial in India with molnupiravir, also gained between 1.1% and 2.3%.

In July, privately held Hetero Labs said it was also seeking a domestic emergency use nod for the experimental treatment, after interim data from its late-stage trial showed molnupiravir helped reduce hospitalisations in mild cases of COVID-19.

(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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