Australian small cap biotech Biotron ticks higher on Zika screen news

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Sydney-based biotech Biotron has reported that two compounds in preclinical status have shown positive activity against the Zika virus, lifting shares in the firm.

The company said in a release to the Australian Stock Exchange that several unspecified compounds were screened at an "independent" facility in the United States. Shares rose to a 52-week high of A$0.074 this week from A$0.064 at the end of last week.

"One compound showed activity in the first round of screening and this result has been confirmed in repeat assays," the release said. "In a subsequent round of screening, a second compound has also shown to inhibit replication of Zika virus."

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Around a dozen firms around the world are working on potential Zika vaccines or therapies including Sanofi ($SNY) and Pennsylvania-based Inovio Pharma ($INO), with others at research stages like Biotron, and comes as the virus spreads in the Americas and with cases also now being reported in Asia.

The mosquito-borne virus has been linked as a cause of microcephaly during pregnancy.

- here's a release

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