Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ:TKMR) (TSE:TKM) shares rallied more than 8% after the company announced that it had started limited production of its treatment targeting the Ebola-Guinea virus. Ebola has claimed over 4,000 lives in West Africa. WHO has warned that, if not controlled, the new Ebola cases to increase to 10,000 per week.
Tekmira’s drug will be available by early December
The Canadian biopharmaceutical company said that its TKM-Ebola will be available by December. Tekmira declined to specify how many doses it would be producing. Notably, the FDA has kept Tekmira’s Ebola candidate on partial clinical hold. Clarus Securities analyst David Novak expects the partial hold to be lifted by the end of this quarter. Last month, U.S. regulators authorized compassionate use of TKM-Ebola in patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola infections.
The Canadian company has completed the design of a modified RNAi therapeutic that targets the Ebola-Guinea variant. This deadly variant of Ebola virus has caused the worst ever outbreak that has hit countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. TKM-Ebola prevents the virus from replicating. Yesterday, health officials declared that Nigeria had become free from Ebola.
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Tekmira not the only one testing Ebola drug
According to Reuters, the European Medicines Agency is encouraging the development of Ebola treatments. The EMA was ready to offer Ebola vaccines and drugs with “orphan” status, which has several benefits including extended market exclusivity. Besides Tekmira, NewLink Genetics, GlaxoSmithKline, Sarepta Therapeutics and Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc are also working on Ebola treatments.
Recently, Tekmira’s drug was picked as a potential candidate for clinical trials in West Africa. The study will be conducted by 30-40 patients. Data from clinical trials will help Tekmira make a stronger case to lift the partial clinical hold. RBC Capital Markets has an Outperform rating on the stock with $25 price target.
Tekmira shares were up 8.92% to $21.97 at 11:18 AM EDT on Wednesday. The stock has rallied more than 164% this year so far.