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Benitec Shares Skyrocket as Morgan Stanley Takes Stake

Benitec discloses in a regulatory filing that Morgan Stanley acquired a 5.2% stake.
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Benitec Biopharma  (BNTC)  shares blasted higher Tuesday after disclosing in a regulatory filing that Morgan Stanley  (MS)  has a 5.2% stake in the genetic drug company.

The stake amounts to 249,174 shares, or about $1.51 million.

Hayward, Calif.-based Benitec Biopharma recently traded at $6.10, up 91.25%. It has risen 1% over the past six months.

Benitec‘s “proprietary platform, called DNA-directed RNA interference, or ddRNAi, combines RNA interference, or RNAi, with gene therapy to create medicines that facilitate sustained silencing of disease-causing genes following a single administration,” the company said.

“The company is developing ddRNAi-based therapeutics for chronic and life-threatening human conditions including Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy (OPMD), and Chronic Hepatitis B.”

Benitec was founded in 2001 and went public in April 2020.

In other pharmaceutical news Tuesday, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals  (REGN)  announced positive results for its lower-dose coronavirus antibody drug and said it will apply for emergency authorization use.

U.S.-listed shares of AstraZeneca  (AZN)  fell Tuesday after U.S. health officials said the drugmaker may have used "outdated information" in the data release of its recent coronavirus vaccine trial.

Shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals  (IONS)  fell sharply after the drug development company suffered a setback in its Huntington's disease study when its partner, Roche Holding, decided to discontinue dosing in its Phase III study of tominersen.

The iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF  (IHE)  recently traded at $179.08, down 0.46%. It has climbed 10% over the past six months, trailing the S&P 500’s 19% gain, as enthusiasm over COVID vaccines hasn’t translated to share prices.