Bachem Rises on Technique for Producing Interferon: Zurich Mover

Bachem Holding AG posted its biggest gain in a year after the Swiss maker of pharmaceutical ingredients said it found a simpler way to make a multiple sclerosis drug with a global market of more than $4 billion.

Bachem rose as much as 7.3 percent, the largest intraday gain since June 20 last year. The stock was 5.3 percent higher at 42 Swiss francs as of 11:17 a.m. in Zurich, the highest price in almost 20 months. More than 26,000 shares were traded, 10 times the three-month daily average.

Bachem worked with Kyoto, Japan-based GlyTech Inc. to develop a way to chemically synthesize interferon beta-1a, a naturally occurring human protein that helps to fight infection, the Bubendorf, Switzerland-based company said in a statement today. Biogen Idec Inc. earned $2.9 billion last year selling interferon beta-1a under the brand name Avonex, while Merck KGaA’s Rebif garnered 1.9 billion euros ($2.4 billion). Both drugs are grown in Chinese hamster ovary cells.

The lab-produced version of the molecule is “as good or better” than the so-called recombinant versions, Bachem said. “Bachem and GlyTech with their know-how in peptide and carbohydrate chemistry are looking forward to a future partnership with a pharma or biotech company interested in conducting all further development studies through to market approval.”