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Hot stock: Covid-19 test maker Biolidics sees 54.6% jump in share price

CANCER diagnostics firm Biolidics on Wednesday evening said it is in the final stages of negotiations with a potential distributor for the sale of its Covid-19 rapid test kits in the US.

It is also pursuing regulatory authorisation for the test kits in certain other jurisdictions, and has been "actively developing the market" for the product in Singapore, the Philippines, the European Union and the US after having obtained the relevant approvals for those jurisdictions.

The Catalist-listed firm was responding to queries from the Singapore Exchange (SGX), which had flagged unusual price movements in the stock during the morning trading session.

The counter had surged as much as 54.6 per cent or 29.2 Singapore cents to hit 82.7 cents at around 10am. 

It then eased back to trade at 72.5 cents - an increase of 35.5 per cent or 19 cents - by the midday break. About 79.7 million shares had changed hands by then, making Biolidics one of the most heavily traded by volume for the morning session.

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Biolidics, which now has a market cap of about S$139.3 million, requested a trading halt at 1.09pm, pending the release of an announcement.

Meanwhile, its substantial shareholder Clearbridge Health also saw its share price surge in the morning. The integrated healthcare group's shares jumped 69.6 per cent or 11 Singapore cents to 26.8 Singapore cents at 10am. The counter finished the day at 25.5 cents, up 61.4 per cent or 9.7 cents.

Clearbridge Health's wholly-owned subsidiary Clearbridge BSA had a 24.8 per cent stake in Biolidics as at March 18, going by Biolidics' annual report.

Asked by The Business Times if there was a development at Clearbridge that might explain the increase in its share price, group chief executive officer Jeremy Yee said no, but noted that Clearbridge is a shareholder of Biolidics.

On Monday, Singapore-based Biolidics said that it can now distribute, market and sell its Covid-19 rapid test kits in the US.

Biolidics also separately announced in recent weeks that it had received official approval for the novel coronavirus test kit in the European Union, in the Philippines and in Singapore.

Earlier this month, SGX asked the company why it had disclosed the approval from Singapore's Health Sciences Authority (HSA) only on March 30 - at least a week after HSA announced it - especially in light of the seriousness of the Covid-19 situation and a worldwide shortage of Covid-19 test kits.

In response, Biolidics said it only became material to disclose the information after it was certain the kits could be commercialised.

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