It didn’t take long for Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ:TKMR) to fall out of favor with investors. In early trading this morning, the drug maker’s stock shot up on speculation that the spreading of the Ebola virus could boost sales of its treatment for the virus, which was scheduled previously to go into a clinical trial. However, shares are now down by more than 2% as investors start hearing of treatments from other companies. Also a hold on Tekmira’s Ebola drug trial could keep it from going to market and allow competitors to get further ahead.
Tekmira beaten to the punch?
CNN reports that private drug maker Mapp Pharmaceuticals already has a treatment that has successfully been used to treat Ebola. It’s currently in the experimental stage, but apparently the drug was used to save the lives of two American missionaries who contracted the deadly disease. Both patients agreed to try the treatment, which had shown promise in treating Ebola in monkeys although it hadn’t been used in humans yet.
The network reports that documents show that four monkeys lived after receiving the drug ZMapp within 24 hours of contracting Ebola. Two of four others that started it within 48 hours also lived. The one monkey that received no treatment died within five days of being exposed to the virus.
One of the two human patients who were given ZMapp reportedly began recovering within a day. The treatment helped his labored breathing, and he was able to shower himself the next morning. His rash also faded. The other patient required two doses in order for her condition to improve.
Other companies to develop Ebola treatments
Reuters reported over the weekend that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration agreed to work with various companies that are developing treatments for the Ebola virus. The agency had placed a hold on Tekmira’s Ebola treatment, preventing the company from moving forward with its clinical trial, although the drug maker was allowed to submit a new proposal.
A source reportedly told Reuters that if Tekmira did begin a new trial in patients who already have Ebola, then the ratio of benefit to risk changes entirely. If that happens, the FDA could authorize the study.