Aurinia Pharma Skyrockets on Positive Data From Lupus Study

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Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AUPH) has been on a meteoric rise over the past month. In this time the stock has gained over 150%, on what has been relatively little news for such a massive move. However shares saw a gain of more than 30% on Thursday over positive data from the company’s Aurion study.

It is an exploratory study being conducted in multiple sites in Malaysia to assess the short-term predictors of response using voclosporin in combination with mycophenolate mofetil and oral corticosteroids in patients with active lupus nephritis.

This study will examine biomarkers of disease activity at eight weeks and their ability to predict response at 24 and 48 weeks, which is effectively the primary objective of the study.

In terms of the data from the study, 70% (7/10) patients achieved complete remission (CR) at 24 weeks as measured by a urinary protein creatinine ratio (UPCR). Of the 10 patients that achieved a reduction of UPCR greater than 25% at eight weeks, 80% were responders at 24 weeks and 70% were in CR at 24 weeks.

Voclosporin was well-tolerated with no unexpected safety signals observed.

Neil Solomons, M.D., chief medical officer of Aurinia, commented:

The results of AURION provide further proof of concept data to support voclosporin’s use in the treatment of active LN and continue to indicate that 23.7mg BID is the optimal dose to advance into our phase III program. We are encouraged by our ability to quickly predict responses and remission rates in these patients, which can help clinicians optimize patient care and long-term outcomes.

Excluding Thursday’s move, Aurinia has outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up 64% year to date. However, over the past 52 weeks the stock is only up 33%.

Shares of Aurinia traded up about 39% at $5.63 early Thursday, with a consensus analyst price target of $8.88 and a 52-week trading range of $1.42 to $5.40.

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