The Biotron Limited (ASX: BIT) share price has been a standout performer on the Australian share market this week.
On Friday afternoon the clinical stage biotechnology company’s shares have rocketed higher for a second day in a row.
At the time of writing the Biotron share price is up 40% to a 52-week high of 14 cents. This means that its shares are now up over 70% in the space of just two days.
Why is the Biotron share price rocketing higher this week?
Investors have been fighting to get hold of Biotron’s shares this week after it announced plans to test its compounds for activity against coronavirus.
At the last count the coronavirus novel strain 2019-nCoV had infected around 32,000 people in mainland China and many more across the world.
What is Biotron doing?
Biotron has several early stage programs designing drugs that target a class of virus protein known as viroporins.
Viroporins play a key role in the virus life cycle of a very broad range of viruses, many of which have caused worldwide health issues. These include the likes of Dengue, Ebola, Middle East Respiratory virus, Influenza, Zika, and Coronavirus.
On Thursday Biotron announced that it is in the process of evaluating several promising compounds for activity against coronavirus, including the 2019-nCoV strain.
Within its proprietary small molecule compound library, the company has over 30 compounds which have good activity against a range of other coronaviruses.
These includes human coronaviruses that cause mild, cold-like symptoms, as well as the SARS coronavirus that was responsible for the outbreak of that virus in 2003.
These compounds have previously been able to reduce the levels of coronavirus by 90% to 100% in infected cell cultures. With some even having broad-spectrum activity against multiple strains of coronaviruses.
This has sparked hopes that Biotron may have a compound that is effective against the 2019-nCoV strain.
Biotron is focusing its efforts on testing a select set of its compounds against the new 2019-nCoV strain.
This work is being conducted under contract in specialist laboratories that have gained access to the new virus in recent days.
No timeframe has been given for the testing, but investors might want to keep an eye on developments in the coming weeks or months.
The post Biotron share price jumps 70% in two days on coronavirus hopes appeared first on Motley Fool Australia.
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