MARKET REPORT: US Covid antibody deal is shot in the arm for Glaxo

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Pharma giant Glaxosmith-kline got a shot in the arm after the US government ordered more of its Covid treatment.

The shares jumped 1.3 per cent, or 20.2p, to 1631.6p after it announced that it will deliver another 600,000 doses of sotrovimab to the US in the first quarter of 2022.

The antibody treatment is designed to prevent and reduce the severity of Covid-19 symptoms in patients, particularly those from high-risk groups.

US deal: Glaxosmithkline's sotrovimab antibody treatment is designed to prevent and reduce the severity of Covid-19 symptoms in patients, particularly those from high-risk groups

US deal: Glaxosmithkline’s sotrovimab antibody treatment is designed to prevent and reduce the severity of Covid-19 symptoms in patients, particularly those from high-risk groups

The treatment, which mimics the body’s immune system, was developed with US biotech firm Vir, and has now attracted global orders totalling 1.7m doses.

The US government also has an option to order more in the second quarter of this year, while another 2m doses are expected to be made in the first half of 2022.

It follows a £734million order from the US in November for an undisclosed number of doses.

Stock Watch –  Senior

Engineering group Senior rose after agreeing deals with Boeing and Honda.

It will supply Boeing with machinery to build aircraft and flight control systems for the manufacturer’s 737, 767 and 777 planes.

And it will provide Honda with exhaust connectors for the Japanese car maker’s petrol engines. 

The connectors are being made at factories in India and China, and deliveries have started. 

The double dose of deal news lifted its stock 3.5 per cent, or 4.8p, to 141.9p.

Animal medicine firm Dechra was among the FTSE 100’s top risers after clinching a deal for a canine cancer drug. The shares bounded 3.4 per cent, or 146p, higher to 4446p after it secured the worldwide rights to a treatment for canine lymphoma.

The tablet slows the progression of the illness and went on sale in the US last year.

Under the agreement with California firm Anivive, Dechra will acquire the right to market verdinexor around the world as well as take over supply contracts to manufacture the drug.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.6 per cent, or 46.12 points, at 7491.37 while the FTSE 250 dipped 0.1 per cent, or 26.37 points, to 23,028.18.

Markets attempted to rally following Monday’s volatile session, when the Nasdaq on Wall Street dropped into correction territory before a strong comeback to close in the green.

The recovery in US tech stocks boosted Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, which counts Tesla and computer chip maker Nvidia among the biggest names in its portfolio. The shares jumped 5 per cent, or 57p, to 1196p.

Other funds with large tech holdings also benefited, with Allianz Technology Trust adding 3.1 per cent, or 9.5p, to 314.5p while Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust climbed 3.7 per cent, or 9.5p, to 266p.

Oil firms were on the rise as Brent crude prices climbed above $83 a barrel. Shell rose 1.7 per cent, or 28.8p, to 1759.6p while BP gained 1.8 per cent, or 6.55p, to 369.6p.

Gaming giant Flutter, owner of Paddy Power and Betfair, flew 2.6 per cent, or 285p, higher to 11,425p after completing its £402million purchase of bingo website Tombola, first announced in November.

Electronics maker Electrocomponents surged 1.3 per cent, or 15p, higher to 1190p as it predicted its full-year profits will be slightly ahead of estimates after a better than expected third quarter.

Revenues in the three months to the end of December rose 21 per cent year-on-year, although it warned that in the final quarter it faced ‘external pressures’ from Covid-19 and supply chain disruption.

Mid-cap software firm Kainos inched up 1.1 per cent, or 18p, to 1646p after snapping up US group Blackline for an undisclosed sum.

Blackline designs software to help companies track spending and procurement. The firm will be integrated into Kainos’s Workday business software.

Meanwhile, property giant Great Portland Estates dropped 1.9 per cent, or 14p, to 737p after analysts at Berenberg downgraded their rating on the stock to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ as they reassessed the state of London’s office market.

Consumer goods giant Unilever also fell, sinking 0.6 per cent, or 24.5p, to 3942p after a downgrade to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’ from Bank of America, which cut its target price to 4500p from 5000p.

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