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Companies that can as good as guarantee investor interest in these crazy times are, besides those producing toilet paper and sanitizers, companies involved in some sort of solution to the coronavirus pandemic. London-listed biopharma firm Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals (LON: HEMO) is no exception.

The relatively small biotech company has been developing treatments for blood cancers and autoimmune diseases over the last seven years but came to investors’ attention last week when it announced that it its looking to discover antibodies that can fight Covid 19.

Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals and humanised mice

Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals is using its proprietary ‘humanised mice’ which have been developed for previous research to focus on coronavirus antibodies. While some people infected by Covid 19 shake the disease off with almost no symptoms others fall severely ill. Hemogenyx’s team is now running a pilot project to figure out why that is the case, and to substantiate it with data.

“We are using our new generation of humanised mice to discover human neutralising antibodies that were developed by convalescent patients, patients that fell ill and developed antibodies against this virus,” Hemogenyx chief executive and co-founder Vladislav Sandler told The Armchair Trader today. “Once discovereed, the company plans to clone the antibodies and develop them into a drug.” The time frame for this? As soon as possible, says Sandler.

The Hemogenyx share price rocketed 260% in the space of a week, rising from around 2 pence last Friday to a high of 15.1 this week. Given its small cap nature – is has a market capitalization of £36m – investor interest generated so much price movement this week that there have been two price monitoring extensions on the share per day over the last few days.

Research facility in coronavirus central

The firm runs a state of the art research facility in what is now coronavirus central: New York City, and has not stopped work throughout the outbreak of the pandemic. Even without its COVID 19-related work, Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals interests us because of its expertise in stem cell-related solutions for severe blood diseases and its focus on pre-clinical stage medicines and treatments for autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune conditions such as lupus, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis are unfortunately on the rise. There is no good explanation as to why, but this type of disease is about three times more common now than only a few decades ago, and yet is fairly costly to treat because it requires life-long medication.

Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals already has good links with the rest of the biotech industry and is collaborating with partners like Johnson and Johnson, the University of Oxford and LakeParma on various projects. This will position it as an interesting investment not only in the short term but also once the corona dust has settled.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Vanya Dragomanovich

Vanya is an award-winning financial journalist who has worked in both television and newswires. She spent over 10 years at Dow Jones covering commodity markets, including metals, coffee, cocoa and oil. She also reported from the floor of the London Metals Exchange, and appeared on CNBC to discuss international metals markets. Since then she has written for several leading financial publications, including serving as commodities editor for FTSE Global Markets.

Vanya continues to cover international commodities markets globally, specialising in particular on metals and alternative energy. She is also the author of a book on CFD trading.

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