Woodford boosted by soaring healthcare stock

A Neil Woodford-backed healthcare stock climbed 114% on Tuesday.

Shares in Hvivo, a UK-based medical and scientific research firm, were up 35p to trade at 65.1p after the company announced on Monday it had moved nearer to discovering a universal flu vaccine.

The share price move followed what Hvivo termed a “significant advance in the management of influenza disease” after seeing positive results in a phase llb trial of its FLU-v treatment.

On Wednesday morning Hvivo shares were trading higher still, hitting 86.5p before dipping slightly to 79p and then levelling around 72p. However, they remain down about 70% over the last calendar year.

The move shows a sharp reversal in fortune for a company that in April issued a statement after its shares plummeted about 50% noting the “sudden and extreme fall” in its share price and admitting it “knows of no reason for such a fall”.

It said at the time it was optimistic that its investment in FLU-v had “potentially significant future value”.

Earlier this week, analysts at Numis Securities reissued a buy rating on the firm.

Woodford Investment Management holds a 18.6% stake, but the stock represents just 0.04% of the Woodford Equity Income fund.

Invesco Limited holds a 27.2% stake, while Janus Henderson Investors holds 3.6%.

Earlier this year, Woodford reinforced his conviction in American biotech firm Prothena after the firm’s shares crashed 70% on the back of deciding not to continue development of its lead drug NEOD001.

Woodford’s Prothena holding became the focal point of the latest annual results for his Patient Capital Trust.



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