Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ:TKMR) (TSE:TKM) has officially confirmed that it has begun the limited GMP production of a new variant of its TKM-Ebola. This new version targets specifically the Ebola-Guinea virus, the strain that has killed over 4,900 people in West Africa. The company said its therapeutic would be available by the end of this year.
Tekmira can easily tweak its therapeutic payload
Clarus Securities analyst David Novak said in a research note that the improved TKM-Ebola has a greater probability of “demonstrating highest efficacy” against the current Ebola strain that is responsible for the epidemic. The Ebola virus mutates frequently as it reproduces. So, treatments that have been developed against an older strain would be less effective against the current strain of the virus.
Tekmira’s genomic approach offers a key benefit. It can easily tweak its treatment to make it specific to the current genome of the virus. It doesn’t require much development time lag. Using the genetic map of Ebola-Guinea, Tekmira has modified its therapeutic payload, which it has started manufacturing in limited quantities for potential use in West Africa.
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Last month, Tekmira’s TKM-Ebola was selected as a potential candidate for clinical studies in West Africa. The company’s drug has been placed on “partial clinical hold” by FDA. Novak says the hold will likely be lifted by December. Anyway, regulators have authorized the drug for compassionate use in suspected or confirmed Ebola patients.
How does Tekmira’s drug work?
Tekmira’s therapeutic works by preventing the replication of Ebola-Guinea virus. The company uses its Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) technology to administer the drug in patients. Clarus Securities has a Buy rating on the stock with $40 price target. The research firm says Tekmira holds value on multiple assets, besides Ebola. During the last week’s OTS Conference, the company demonstrated that its TKM-HBV has shown impressed results in pre-clinical trials for Hepatitis-B. Tekmira will commence Phase I clinical trials early next year.
Tekmira shares fell 3.50% to $19.13 at 11:56 AM EDT on Friday.