Pharma shares in focus; Pfizer hits record high, Sun Pharma rallies 6%

Shares of pharmaceutical companies were in focus with the S&P BSE Healthcare index gaining more than 2 per cent on the BSE on Tuesday. Pfizer, Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries, Metropolis Healthcare, Bliss GVS Pharma, RPG Life Sciences, Dr. Lal PathLabs, Biocon, Albert David and FDC from the index were up more than 3 per cent.

At 10:17 am, the S&P BSE Healthcare index, the second biggest gainer among the key sectoral indices, was up 2.2 per cent, as compared to a 1.1 per cent rise in the S&P BSE Sensex.

Shares of Pfizer rallied 16 per cent to hit a record high of Rs 4,929 on the BSE on back of heavy volumes after report suggested that its parent company Pfizer Inc has identified some antiviral compounds with potential as coronavirus treatments.

The stock of the drug maker was trading higher for the third straight day, and surpassed its previous high of Rs 4,649 touched on February 14, 2020.

According to a Reuters report, Pfizer Inc said on Monday that it has identified certain antiviral compounds it had in development that have the potential to inhibit coronaviruses and is engaging with a third party to screen the compounds.

"We hopes to have the results from that screening by the end of March and if any of the compounds are successful, we would hope start testing them by the end of the year," the company said.

Besides, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries was up 6 per cent to Rs 390 on the BSE. The trading volumes on the counter jumped 1.75 times with a combined 4.8 million shares changing hands on the NSE and BSE so far. The company informed the exchanges on Monday that there was a shortage of its generic version of hypertension drug pindolol due to unavailability of supply of the drug’s ingredients.

Indian companies are the main supplier of generic drugs to the world and procure almost 70 per cent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for their medicines from China, the Reuters report suggested.

Meanwhile, shares of Metropolis Healthcare, too, hit a new high of Rs 2,110, up 10 per cent in the intra-day trade today. The stock extended its previous day’s 3 per cent gain on the BSE amid expectation of a strong revenue growth on the back of healthy volume growth due to strong additions to the patient service network. The company is a dominant player in West India, providing extensive coverage of tests and quality services.

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