Tekmira Pharmaceutical's stock surged further as a change in the FDA's status could clear the way for the use of its experimental Ebola drug. Fred Katayama reports.
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals' experimental Ebola drug could possibly be used to treat people infected with the deadly virus. The Canadian company said the FDA has changed its status on the drug that could clear the way for its use. TKM-Ebola is one of three experimental drugs that have shown promising results on monkeys. But testing on humans has been limited, and the FDA had stopped Tekmira's clinical trials last month because of safety concerns. Supply is reportedly limited. The Obama Administration is forming a group to consider setting policy for using such experimental drugs to treat Ebola. And the World Health Organization plans to have ethicists discuss the implications of making the drugs more widely available. More investors rushed to load up on Tekmira's shares on the latest news, turbo charging a stock that has already surged nearly 40 percent since Sierra Leone confirmed the outbreak of the virus two weeks ago. RBC analyst Michael Yee thinks Tekmira's drug has big potential, saying, "Long term, we estimate it could be a periodic $100 million a year product mainly via safety stocking contracts with DoD (Department of Defense)." Health experts are scrambling to determine which drugs offer the best treatment as the death toll from Ebola nears the 1,000 mark. Mapp Pharmaceutical's ZMapp drug was given to two American missionaries infected with the virus who have since shown signs of improvement. It and the other developer, Profectus BioSciences, are privately held U.S. companies, leaving Tekmira as the only stock play.