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Relief Therapeutics stock plunges after FDA rejects COVID-19 emergency approval

·1-min read

ZURICH (Reuters) - Relief Therapeutics stock fell more than 20% after the Swiss company on Wednesday said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected its bid for emergency approval of the drug aviptdadil in critically ill COVID-19 patients.

"The FDA did not agree to grant (emergency use authorisation), as applied for in September," said Jonathan Javitt, the chief executive officer of U.S.-based NeuroRx, Inc. which has partnered with Relief on aviptadil, an older drug that the companies are seeking to repurpose during the pandemic.

The shares were down 26% to about 25 Swiss centimes at 0930 GMT, though they are still significantly higher on the year, as investors hope aviptdadil is successful.

Relief also said it had completed enrollment in a trial in the United States against COVID-19, and that it now expects initial data in late January or February.

In November, Relief pushed back expectations for trial results to January from the final quarter of 2020.

Half-century-old aviptadil, studied over the years for a variety of uses including erectile dysfunction and pulmonary fibrosis, was part of Relief's portfolio when the COVID-19 pandemic began, prompting the company to test it against the new coronavirus.

The company is now calling the drug Zyesami in its formulation against COVID-19.

(Reporting by John Miller; editing by Jason Neely)