Look for another big day on Wednesday for the shares of little-known Swiss biopharmaceutical developer Relief Therapeutics Holding (OTCMKTS:RLFTF). RLFTF stock gained 14.7% on Tuesday, trading three times the average daily volume.
What to watch? Relief’s lead compound RLF-100 is in advanced clinical development to treat severe Covid-19 patients. Its partner NeuroRx announced yesterday that its Phase 2b/3 trial of the RLF-100 compound demonstrated a range of benefits in discharged patients recovering from respiratory failure.
The findings are likely to push Radnor, Pennsylvania-based NeuroRx to seek emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The news comes two months after the firm agreed to combine with special purpose acquisition company Big Rock Partners Acquisition Corporation (NASDAQ:BRPA). Shares of the SPAC are up more than 10% in pre-market trading on Wednesday, extending yesterday’s 16.3% share price increase.
Unlike many of its blank-check peers that have found acquisition targets within months of their initial public offerings, Big Rock Partners took more than three years from its 2017 listing. When it raised $69 million in that transaction, Big Rock Partners said it wanted to focus on the senior housing and broader care industry. It extended its deadline to choose a business combination several times.
RLFTF Stock Move Reflects New Treatments Focus
Interest in RLFTF stock may also reflect a shift in investor interests from Covid-19 vaccine developers to treatment makers and therapeutics firms as the pandemic enters its second year. Even as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is poised to roll out its vaccine that will challenge the short-lived duopoly of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), some analysts are ready to move on.
So, as events unfold, as in the NeuroRx-RLFTF news that their respiratory distress drug significantly reduces the length and intensity of patients’ hospital stays, look for treatments plays.
As noted in the NIH Director’s Blog earlier this month, “the quest to save more lives from COVID-19 isn’t even close to being finished, and researchers continue to work intensively to develop new and better treatments.”
The blog cited a number of therapies already found to be safe and effective for COVID-19, including antiviral remdesivir, steroid dexamethasone, and monoclonal antibodies from the companies Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN).
Long-Haul Covid-19 Becomes Next Concern
As InvestorPlace contributor Thomas Niel noted earlier this week, “long-haul Covid-19 could be a health crisis post-pandemic. But, rising to the occasion, scores of biotech firms have been working on ways to combat these chronic symptoms, and allow those afflicted with them to get on with their lives.”
His roundup of biotech stocks focused on chronic Covid-19 treatment highlighted seven names for investors to consider, including AIM ImmunoTech (NYSEMKT:AIM), Avid Bioservices (NASDAQ:CDMO) and CytoDyn (OTCMKTS:CYDY).
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On the date of publication, Robert Lakin did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
InvestorPlace contributor Robert Lakin is a veteran financial writer and editor, following fintech, agtech and property tech startups.