STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Pharmaceuticals maker Recipharm said on Thursday it had secured supplies of chloroquine phosphate and begun production of a product using the active ingredient that has been identified by some as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
The announcement saw shares in Sweden’s Recipharm, which unveiled first-quarter results earlier on Thursday, extend gains to stand 20% higher by 1133 GMT.
Malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have been touted by U.S. President Donald Trump as treatments for the coronavirus even though their effectiveness has not been demonstrated and there are concerns about heart damage.
Recipharm, which makes hundreds of products for customers ranging from big pharma to small research firms, said in a statement it had moved to tie down supplies following reports that chloroquine phosphate may be part of COVID-19 therapies.
“There is still a great need for more clinical evidence regarding the use of chloroquine, but we also need to prepare for the event that it could be identified as an effective part of COVID-19 treatment,” said Carl-Johan Spak, head of strategic investments and projects at Recipharm.
Recipharm noted that chloroquine products were currently not indicated for treatment of COVID-19 but said many clinical studies involving chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine had begun.
“Recipharm has therefore put substantial focus on having stock available in the event that demand increases upon positive clinical data and new guidelines,” it said.
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)