Hemispherx Biopharma Inc. (NYSEAMERICAN: HEB) shares shot up on Tuesday after the firm announced significant progress in its Ampligen recurrent ovarian cancer program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
The ovarian cancer program is being funded in part by an Ovarian Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is supporting a Phase 1/2 study of intraperitoneal chemo-immunotherapy in recurrent ovarian cancer.
What caused the shares to run is an interim report that was received by Hemispherx that summarizes results related to some of the laboratory objectives of this study, which include characterization of the local immune responses during chemo-induced cell death.
Dr. Robert Edwards, chair of gynecologic services at Magee-Women’s Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPMC), Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Services at UPMC, commented:
Ampligen has the potential to be clinically significant because a robust killer T-cell population in the tumor microenvironment without attracting Treg cells is important to help optimize checkpoint blockade induced tumor shrinkage.
Thomas K. Equels, CEO of Hemispherx, added:
Ovarian cancer is projected to kill 152,000 this year worldwide. Recurrent ovarian cancer is a dire unmet medical need. Working with the University of Pittsburgh, we are able to team up and focus world-class science on developing a meaningful combination therapy with the potential to save the lives of women who may be out of therapeutic options.
Currently, a second ovarian cancer clinical trial at UPMC is beginning to accrue patients. This is a Phase 2 investigator-sponsored trial fully funded by an industry grant that will evaluate Ampligen in combination with the checkpoint blockade drug, pembrolizumab.
Shares of Hemispherx closed up more than 20% on Tuesday at $0.20, in a 52-week range of $0.13 to $0.35. The consensus price target is $0.65.