A Corona miracle drug from Switzerland will probably be the next box office hit. The rush of governments on drugs is apparently imminent.

The company Molecular Partners has developed a Covid drug that is used in clinical tests.

 Swiss Covid funds before breakthrough - BAG gets first 200 & rsquo; 000 doses

The drug has not yet been approved, but according to CEO Patrick Amstutz this can happen very quickly.

Swiss-covid-means before breakthrough - BAG gets first 200,000 cans

The company from Schlieren was looking for a partner for approval and sales.

That's what

  • A Swiss Covid agent has proven its effectiveness in tests.

  • The agent comes from Molecular Partners, Novartis handles the licensing.

  • Now companies have the prospect of a lot of money.

The Swiss corona agent Ensovibep reduces the viral load and protects against hospitalizations. This was shown in a phase II test, which the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis and Molecular Partners from Schlieren reported on Monday.

Novartis is in the process of applying for an emergency license in the United States. “That can happen very quickly and is also being promoted in Switzerland,” says Patrick Amstutz, CEO of Molecular Partners, to 20 Minuten. Switzerland sponsored the infusion medium and therefore had the opportunity to buy the first 200,000 cans. Contracts with other countries do not yet exist.

«Those who have not ordered now have delivery problems afterwards»

But that won't be long. “If you don't order now, you may have delivery problems afterwards,” says pharmaceutical analyst Stefan Schneider from Bank Vontobel. Pfizer and Merck would have promised sales in the billions for their corona pills with orders from the US state alone.

It is still unclear whether such amounts will also be available for the Swiss infusion agent. But because “nobody knows yet which drug is the best”, says Schneider, “large sales are also conceivable for this new type of drug – provided that emergency approval comes in.”

Molecular Partners has been working with Novartis for a year because they needed a large partner for the clinical study, says CEO Amstutz. In addition, Novartis offers ideal logistics with Sandoz. The Basel pharmaceutical giant is now responsible for the development, manufacture, distribution and commercialization of the product.

Novartis pays millions

Molecular Partners received millions for this. When the contract was signed a year ago, Novartis gave 60 million francs at the beginning and a further 150 million francs when the test was passed. In addition, the pharmaceutical company has since paid all expenses in the double-digit million range, according to Amstutz. There is also a 22 percent share in sales of the drug. “It's a good deal for both of them,” says Amstutz.

Pharma analyst Schneider is also convinced that both companies will benefit from the cooperation. “It's a great deal for Molecular Partners because it can use the money from Novartis to secure funding until 2025,” said Schneider. In addition, a 22 percent share in sales is very high, especially since that was negotiated during phase two. The company's share rose by around 25 percent on Monday.

Novartis, for its part, benefits from the fact that it is now more active in the fight against Corona. “At the beginning of the pandemic, the market accused Novartis of being too reluctant to act. Now they have the opportunity to be an active part of it – and, under certain circumstances, can generate large sales, “says Schneider.

Novartis shares should continue to rise

Novartis shares rose less than one percent, but in addition to the fact that the drug still has to pass the approval hurdle, «is Novartis is also much bigger than Molecular Partners, which is why the upward swing is not that big, ”says Schneider.

If the drug receives approval, the Novartis share should increase significantly again. Such commercial milestones usually bring larger share movements, says pharmaceutical expert Gianpaolo Chiriano of the private bank Mirabaud to 20 minutes. Chiriano sees Ensovibep as a “real alternative” to existing therapies, which may be less effective in treating the new variants. He estimates the sales potential in the three-digit million range.

Pharmaceutical expert Lorenzo Biasio from Credit Suisse also believes that sales of the drug of several hundred million francs are realistic. “In the end it could be a positive story for both companies,” says Biasio.

This is Molecular Partners

Molecular Partners is a spin-off from the University of ZH founded in 2004 with over 150 employees in Schlieren and three employees in the USA. The company started with cancer drugs and then developed the Corona drug.

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By Teresa Tapmleton

Teresa Tampleton has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Nizh TEkegram, Teresa Tampleton worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teresa@ntelegram.com 1-800-268-7341

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