The latest: Ascletis Pharma Inc. (1672.HK) announced on Sunday that it has submitted marketing authorization applications for its oral ritonavir 100 mg film-coated tablets in Germany, France, Ireland and the UK.

Looking up: Ascletis Pharma has annual production capacity of 100 million ritonavir tablets, with capability for further rapid expansion in line with market demand, providing an important source of new revenue as it enters new markets.

Take Note: The company has yet to record any profit since its 2018 IPO, with losses widening each year as revenue fails to cover its R&D expenses. Its loss doubled to 111 million yuan ($17.5 million) in the first half of last year.

Digging Deeper: Ritonavir is an antiretroviral protease inhibitor and is also a component of the oral antiviral drug Paxlovid, which in December received emergency use authorization for treatment of Covid-19 in the U.S. The group’s ritonavir oral tablet was approved for marketing by the National Medical Products Administration of China in Sept 2021. Ascletis Pharma has stated that it aims to become a global supplier of oral ritonavir tablets and therefore continues to negotiate with major multinational pharmaceutical companies to supply the product globally. It expects to continue to submit applications for marketing approval in North American, the Asia-Pacific region and other European countries in the near future.

Market Reaction: Following the news, Ascletis Pharma‘s share price surged on Monday, closing up 14.6% at HK$4.78 at the midday break. However, it is still down 34% from last month’s three-year high of HK$7.26.

Translation by Jony Ho

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