The world is abuzz with news of potential cures or treatments for the coronavirus that has sent people and economies into lockdown.
Mesoblast Ltd [ASX:MSB] is a Melbourne based biotech firm who develop treatments for tissue repair and immune responses.
The MSB share price has rocketed since it began work in treating COVID-19, climbing 150% over the past month.
MSB (blue) versus ASX Health Care Index (red), source: TradingView.com
With a fresh announcement out this morning, shares in the biotech firm have tacked on a further 4.43% to trade at $3.30.
Trial phases to begin soon
We have been keeping a close eye on Mesoblast here at Profit Watch.
MSB’s shares received a strong boost at the beginning of April when it obtained FDA approval for its new drug to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by coronavirus infection.
At the time, it was too early to tell if the drug would be a success or not.
Or whether it will amount to any revenue for the company.
Just yesterday MSB released its quarterly results.
And though the results were probably not what some investors were hoping for (with the share price dropping 2.5%), the company seems relatively healthy.
However, the drug in question, Remestemcel-L, which is also used to treat Steroid-Refractory Acute Graft Versus Host Disease, is planned to roll out in the US this year.
MSB said product inventory is in place and a targeted commercial team is being built.
Meaning, if it is successful in treating ARDS, it will be well positioned to quickly rollout the product.
This morning, Mesoblast announced it had commenced enrolment for its clinical trials.
Here’s what MSB had to say:
‘More than 20 medical centers across the United States will participate in the trial which is expected to complete enrollment within three to four months, with interim analyses planned which could result in stopping the trial early for efficacy or futility.’
Could it be too late for Mesoblast?
According to MSB, there are limited treatment options for ventilator-dependent patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, the principal cause of mortality in COVID-19 infection.
News broke today about another drug, Gilead Sciences, Inc’s [NASDAQ:GILD] experimental antiviral drug remdesivir.
Top US infectious disease officials said it could become the standard of care for COVID-19.
Results showed that patients given remdesivir recovered 31% faster than those given a placebo.
Essentially, remdesivir helps to reduce recovery time.
Remestemcel-L, on the other hand helps treat those who have developed ARDS from contracting the coronavirus.
So, the question should be asked: Will there be a significant need for MSB’s drug if remdesivir becomes the standard of care?
I can’t say.
But I will definitely continue to monitor MSB’s developments.
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