Geron Corp. (GERN:US) shares rose as much as 32 percent after a Mayo Clinic study found the biotechnology company’s experimental drug imetelstat helped patients with a bone marrow cancer.
Geron increased 17 percent to $6.86 at 7:57 a.m. New York time after gaining to $7.73. The Menlo Park, California-based company’s shares had climbed more than three-fold this year through yesterday.
Researchers studied imetelstat in 22 myelofibrosis patients for at least six months, five of whom achieved partial or complete remission, according to a statement yesterday from the Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minnesota. The clinic said 41 percent of participants in the Geron-funded trial responded to the drug.
“Some patients in our clinical trial taking imetelstat obtained dramatic responses and there have been some complete responses which is almost unheard of for drug therapy in this disease,” the study’s lead author, Ayalew Tefferi, a hematologist at Mayo Clinic, said in the statement. “These are early results but they are promising.”
Myelofibrosis is a chronic myeloid cancer in which bone marrow cells that produce blood cells function abnormally, according to Mayo Clinic. As a result, scar tissue forms in the bone marrow and can cause severe anemia that requires transfusion, weakness, fatigue and an enlarged spleen and liver.
The data was released ahead of the American Society of Hematology meeting that starts tomorrow in New Orleans.
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