Hemispherx Biopharma Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:HEB) took a key step forward in its Phase 2 clinical trial on Wednesday after it announced that the first patient has been treated with its flagship drug Ampligen.
The study looks at the effectiveness of ampligen in combination with the drug pembrolizumab at treating ovarian cancer. It is being run out of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Shares of Hemispherx jumped 21.8% on Wednesday afternoon in New York.
READ: Hemispherx Biopharma’s well-funded to take promising cancer drug Ampligen through clinical trials
Florida-based Hemispherx believes that Ampligen could have anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. Prior clinical trials of the drug looked at patients with renal cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.
The Phase 1 initial study indicated that Ampligen is generally well-tolerated when administrated through the abdominal cavity.
The Phase 2 clinical trials are being run under the leadership of principal investigator Dr. Robert Edwards and is expected to treat 45 patients.
“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," said Dr. Edwards in a statement.
Ovarian cancer is expected to be the cause of death for 152,000 people this year, according to Hemispherx.
“With this new large-scale study funded by an industry grant, Hemispherx and the team at Magee-Women's Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are focused on developing a potentially life-saving therapy to meet this critical and unmet medical need," said CEO Thomas K. Equels.
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