Ebola Drug Firm Shares Go Bonkers After FDA Announcement



Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation's head office in Burnaby, British Columbia, on Tuesday.

Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals closed at $20.70 on Friday, surging 45% in one day of trading.

On Thursday afternoon, management announced that the FDA loosened a hold on the Ebola treatment in the company's development pipeline.

"[T]he U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has verbally confirmed they have modified the full clinical hold placed on the TKM-Ebola Investigational New Drug Application (IND) to a partial clinical hold," they said. "This action enables the potential use of TKM-Ebola in individuals infected with Ebola virus."

"Earlier this month, the agency put a hold on a Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp clinical trial of TKM-Ebola, one of the few Ebola treatments advanced enough to be tested in people," reported Reuters' Julie Steenhuysen. This had enraged the families of those infected by the deadly virus, which has been killing people across West Africa.

"We have been closely watching the Ebola virus outbreak and its consequences, and we are willing to assist with any responsible use of TKM-Ebola," Tekmira CEO Mark Murray said Thursday. "The foresight shown by the FDA removes one potential roadblock to doing so. This current outbreak underscores the critical need for effective therapeutic agents to treat the Ebola virus. We recognize the heightened urgency of this situation and are carefully evaluating options for use of our investigational drug within accepted clinical and regulatory protocols."

The now $315 million biotech firm has received lots of attention as the deadly virus ravages people in West Africa.

Steenhuysen spoke with a University of Texas doctor who said that it "works great in monkeys in the lab."

The stock has been trading in a wide range in recent weeks, swinging between $5.08 and $31.48 in the past year.

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