The swine flu outbreak is likely to benefit one of the most prolific and successful venture capital firms in the United States: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Thomson Reuters Private Equity Week reported on Friday.
Shares of the two public companies in the firm's portfolio of eight Pandemic and Bio Defense companies -- BioCryst Pharmaceuticals and Novavax -- jumped Friday on news that the swine flu killed a reported 60 people in Mexico and has infected people in the United States.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the virus appears to be susceptible to Roche's flu drug Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, but not to older flu drugs such as amantadine.
Roche said it has five million treatment courses of Tamiflu on stand-by for the WHO in its "Rapid Response Stockpile."
"Roche was contacted by the WHO and is prepared to immediately deploy the stockpile if requested. However, this request has not been made at this time," Roche spokesman Terry Hurley said.
Shares of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG closed up 3.48 percent after falling sharply earlier in the week on a cancer drug disappointment, while shares of U.S. biotechnology company Gilead Sciences Inc, which gets royalties from Roche on Tamiflu sales, slipped 10 cents to $45.80 on Friday.
Shares of BioCryst, a maker of drugs that block key enzymes in viral diseases, jumped more than 26 percent on Friday to $2.21 per share. Viral vaccine maker Novavax rose more than 75 percent to $1.42 per share.