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RedHill Stock Higher After Covid Treatment Progresses in Trial

RedHill Biopharma rose after the company reported progress in a study of its Covid drug for severely ill and hospitalized patients.
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RedHill Biopharma  (RDHL) - Get RedHill Biopharma Ltd. Sponsored ADR Report shares rose Monday after the company reported progress in a study of its Covid drug for severely ill and hospitalized patients.

The data came in a Phase 2/3 trial of hospitalized patients with severe Covid-19 pneumonia. 

The trial showed that treatment with RedHill’s oral opaganib versus a placebo resulted in a 62% reduction in mortality among 251 participants, the company said.

The study also showed statistically significant improved outcome in median time to hospital discharge,” RedHill said.

The company’s shares on Monday closed at $4.88, up 12%, but are still down 50% over the past month.

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"These new findings support the potential for opaganib's use in hospitalized, moderately severe Covid-19 patients,” said Mark Levitt, medical director for RedHill.

RedHill’s announcement comes after drug giant Merck  (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report said Friday that it would seek emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a COVID treatment pill it is developing with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Merck said the drug -- molnupiravir -- significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death in non-hospitalized adult patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in a Phase 3 clinical trial.

A total of 7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died compared with 14.1% of placebo-treated patients in a 29 day period, the company said. The pill, taken orally is especially significant in that it can be taken at home to avoid hospitalization.

Merck plans to submit an application for emergency use authorization to the U.S. FDA as soon as possible based on the findings.