B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Saanich-based pharmaceutical company, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, saw share values soar on Thursday after success with clinical trials for a new lupus drug.

On Dec. 4, the company announced that results from the AURORA Phase 3 drug trials for voclosporin had been successful in treating kidney inflammation in patients with lupus nephritis – an autoimmune disease.

Aurinia’s chief medical officer Neil Solomons explained that patients with lupus can experience “irreversible kidney damage” that can lead to kidney failure and death.

READ ALSO: Saanich biotech company secures $52M US for global drug study

The study included 357 patients from around the world with lupus and the results showed that participants using voclosporin experienced a “renal response rate” of 40.8 per cent while just 22.5 per cent of participants in the control group – those who didn’t receive the drug – saw improvements.

Data also indicated that the group taking voclosporin saw no more adverse events than the group receiving standard lupus treatment, noted Brad Rovin, chief of the nephrology division at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre.

Following the announcement of the drug’s successful Phase 3 trial, the company’s share price exploded on Thursday, rising from Wednesday’s close of $11.13 per share to touch a 52-week high of $23.04 before closing at $19.75. Its shares have risen from a 52-week low of $4.70 to close Friday at $20.48 – a gain of 336 per cent, driving the company’s market cap to $1.93 billion.

READ ALSO: Mental health call temporarily shuts down Trans Canada Highway in View Royal

Lupus has historically been difficult to treat and new treatment options were needed, said Stevan Gibson, president and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America. Voclosporin is the first effective therapeutic treatment option and the successful trial marks a step forward in treating the potentially deadly disease, he noted.

Chief executive Peter Greenleaf noted that staff were “thrilled with the outcomes” of the trial and that the drug’s success is significant for people living with lupus – close to 3 million people worldwide. The company is planning to put the drug on the market as early as 2021, but first it must pass though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process. The drug was given a fast track by the FDA in 2016 and the company plans to submit to the FDA in early 2020.

With files from Paul Bucci.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island Bantam Eagles ice Clippers, clinch Tier 2 league banner

“We will enjoy the moment for now, but… it’s back to work on Tuesday”

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: North Island beauty

“don’t forget to look up and observe the beauty of the whole North Island”

LETTER: Miles put on the car causes North Island driver to reflect

“Up here in Port McNeill we are so blessed with nature’s tranquillity all around us”

Collaborative effort removes salmon farms from BC coast

The first farms to be removed were those in closest to the Ahta and Viner Rivers.

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

VIDEO: Comox Valley Chiefs smash North Island Eagles, clinch Peewee Tier 3 league banner

The Eagles got off to a slow start in the first period while the Chiefs were skating hard.

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Poll suggests some don’t think Canada should send troops to stop genocide

The findings are being released just before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to give refund to B.C. buyer due to puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

UPDATED: Man dies in backcountry near Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort

The victim was found unresponsive in a tree well Friday

Most Read