Shares of Corvus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CRVS) skyrocketed over 80% on July 7th following the company’s announcement of the initiation of a new immunotherapy study in COVID-19 patients. As many as 30 patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms are expected to be enrolled in the Phase 1 study.
The launched of the early-stage trial follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) acceptance of the small cap biotech company’s investigational new drug (IND) application for the COVID-19 study.
The first five patients have already been treated with the novel therapy at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. Up to 25 additional patients will be enrolled at several different U.S. locations.
Patients will receive a single dose of immunostimulatory antibody therapy CPI-006 as part of the escalating dose study of four patient cohorts. The study’s primary efficacy endpoint is the change in immunoglobulin anti-SARS-CoV-2 levels as compared to the baseline after 28 days.
Corvus Pharmaceuticals is a Burlingame, California-based biopharmaceutical company primarily focused on the development of oncology therapies. Its pipeline includes four different cancer therapy candidates including CPI-006.
Study’s scientific basis is an ongoing cancer trial
The approach of the study is focused on stimulating an immune response by activating human B cells to enhance the production of antibodies. The scientific basis of the trial is supported by the company’s ongoing cancer clinical trial.
CPI-006 has thus far shown good potential for being effective as a treatment of infectious diseases and cancer. The product candidate has been able to bind to various immune cells and induce a human immune response.
More than 90 cancer patients have been treated with CPI-006 in a Phase 1/1b study. The administered dosage has been up to 24mg/kg every three weeks. Corvus has seen evidence of B-cell activation and lymphocyte trafficking in patients that received single doses as little as 1mg/kg.
The company is hoping similar results can be achieved with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes the COVID-19.
There have been signs it may. One patient with advanced metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was also diagnosed with COVID-19 at the time of starting the CPI-006 therapy for cancer. Despite being in a high-risk group for the progression of COVID-19, the patient remained asymptomatic from COVID-19 after being treated with CPI-006.
President and CEO Dr. Richard Miller said, “Our B cell activating monoclonal antibody may be a potential immunotherapy for COVID-19 based on its ability to stimulate the production of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Our preclinical and clinical research has elucidated important biological mechanisms underlying this approach and we are eager to apply it to addressing the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.”
He also noted the potential for CPI-006 to be used as a treatment for other infectious diseases including other coronavirus variants and for patients who do not respond well to vaccines.
Corvus anticipates data from the COVID-19 trial to be available later this year. Prior to that the company is scheduled to report second quarter financial performance and provide a business update on August 6th.
Shares of Corvus Pharmaceuticals climbed as high as $6.88 on July 7th before closing at $4.95.