The company behind a potential Ebola drug is red-hot again.
Canadian biotech firm Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (announced that the Federal Drug Administration knocked down a key barrier to its medicine, TKM Ebola, reaching some patients. The FDA moved the drug from a “full hold” to a “partial hold,” which means Tekmira can use the drug in limited experiments. )
“We are pleased that the FDA has considered the risk-reward of TKM-Ebola for infected patients,” said CEO Mark Murray in a statement. “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.”
The company’s stock spiked nearly 40% Friday, sending shares to their highest price since April.
Investors have been keen to find a way to put money into an Ebola cure. Shares jumped as much as 40% in recent days as news of Tekmira’s drug became widely known. But the stock fell back after officials at the Emory University hospital treating two Ebola patients used another company’s drugs.
Investors think the drug could still become a big moneymaker for Tekmira, and the FDA upgrade in status is being viewed as added confirmation of the potential for the treatment.
Jason Kolbert, an analyst with the Maxim Group, told CNNMoney earlier this week that Ebola’s sudden and rapid spread moved federal officials to try out a number of Ebola treatments in development, so Tekmira still has a shot at a payday.
The company already has a $140 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense’s biodefense unit to develop TKM-Ebola.