Oncolytics climbs on cancer viral drug study
NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Oncolytics Biotech Inc. surged Thursday after the company said its cancer treatment Reolysin, which uses a virus to attack tumors, met its goal in a late-stage clinical trial.
Oncolytics said patients who were treated with Reolysin and two chemotherapy drugs were more likely to have stable or smaller tumors than patients who took chemotherapy alone. The company is testing the drug as a treatment for head and neck cancers and is conducting earlier-stage studies of Reolysin as a treatment for a variety of other cancers.
The stock jumped 86 cents, or 39.6 percent, to close at $3.03.
Reolysin is based on a common virus called the respiratory enteric orphan virus, or reovirus. Oncolytics says most adults have been exposed to the virus and it usually has no symptoms. Reolysin is designed to infect and destroy cancer cells. The company says the body's immune response stops the reovirus from replicating in healthy cells, but in cancer cells with specific mutations, the antiviral response is not effective. The virus multiplies and the cell dies.
Oncolytics said 86 percent of patients who were treated with Reolysin had stable or smaller tumors about six weeks after treatment. That compared to 67 percent of patients treated with chemotherapy alone. Patients in the trial had tumors that had metastasized. They were not helped by previous treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy and had not been treated with taxane chemotherapy drugs.
Taxanes are anti-cancer drugs derived from yew trees. Platinum interferes with DNA and causes cell death.