The clinical-stage pharmaceutical company conducted a study looking into the effect of food on cystine’s bioavailability, which refers to the rate at which a drug is absorbed into the system.
Shares of the Washington-based biotech jumped nearly 38% to $3.76 in Thursday pre-market trading.
The plant-based compound interacts with the brain’s nicotine receptors to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
The study took a look at the bioavailability of a new formulation of 3 mg of cystine in 12 healthy volunteer smokers under fed and fasted conditions.
The results showed that cystine was absorbed with maximum concentration levels observed in the blood within less than two hours, with or without food.
"We believe this new cytisine formulation will allow for an extended shelf-life and will be used in the upcoming Phase 2b clinical trial as well as the Phase 3 clinical program," said CEO Rick Stewart in the company’s press release.
Similar results were found in the study evaluating the previous cystine formulation in 24 healthy non-smoking volunteers.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, responsible for nearly six million deaths annually worldwide, according to the World Health Organization’s Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic.