Ascendis steps into the Covid-19 breach


Ascendis steps into the Covid-19 breach

Published Date: 2020-04-09 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Ascendis steps into the Covid-19 breach

A large number of its drugs, supplements and medical devices are in demand to help treat patients with the coronavirus.

Ascendis Health is benefitting from strong demand for drugs and devices that can assist with the Covid-19 pandemic, including chloroquine, which the US Food and Drug Administration has authorised for emergency use for severely ill patients admitted to hospital. The drug is made by Remedica, the Cyprus-based business it recently tried to sell to help reduce its debt.

In an update, the pharmaceuticals and healthcare group said despite the big increase in demand for Chloroquine, it was too early to say how it would affect Remedica's financial performance. The business focuses on anti-retrovirals (ARVs) and antibiotic treatments and said the continued production of ARVs in the fight against AIDS remained fundamental to stemming the potential impact of Covid-19 on those whose immune systems had been compromised.

Demand had also risen for respiratory devices distributed by Respiratory Care Africa, a business in its Medical Devices division. Another business, Surgical Innovations, was a distributor of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation devices which are used as a last resort in the treatment of coronavirus patients. A third unit in Medical Devices, The Scientific Group, distributes in vitro diagnostic products essential for Covid-19 screening as well as confirming infection through reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.

Ascendis said the Medical Devices businesses were likely to be negatively impacted in the fight against Covid-19, specially where elective surgeries were cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. The export of medical devices to other African countries was also being impacted. To offset this, it said it was procuring and distributing Covid-19 Antibody Rapid test kits that had been used successfully in other parts of the world. It was also assisting the government in the sourcing of medical masks and sanitisation products.

The group's Ascendis Pharma SA business continued to manufacture at full capacity, including additional quantities required due to Covid-19, such as drugs to boost immunity, provide relief for colds and influenza and treat against infections. The vitamin and mineral supplements under its Consumer Health brand also remained highly relevant, it said. To keep its factory running, it had split the workforce into shifts to ensure social distancing.

In Romania, Sun Wave Pharma continued to perform well in its core nutraceutical and over-the-counter products, which remained highly relevant to the Romanian doctors and pharmacist network as part of the immunity and co-morbidity treatment regime for Covid-19.

Its shares closed 30% higher at 60c yesterday.

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