Shares of AC Immune (ACIU) surged in massive volume Thursday after the small biotech company began dosing patients with an Alzheimer's treatment.
The decision follows interim data from a prior clinical study. That earlier study showed the experimental Alzheimer's treatment was safe at a lower dose. Now, AC Immune is testing a higher dose of the drug.
Chief Executive Andrea Pfeifer noted the benefits at the lower dose are promising for this method of tackling Alzheimer's disease. AC Immune is studying the reduction of tau, a protein that builds up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
"Tau-targeted approaches may have a much broader therapeutic window to potentially disrupt, slow or prevent disease progression at both early and advanced disease stages," Pfeifer said in a written statement.
On today's stock market, AC Immune stock soared 18.9% to close at 8.55. The move took place in huge volume and sent AC Immune shares to a two-year high.
Alzheimer's Treatment In Testing
Technically speaking, AC Immune's drug is a vaccine. The experimental Alzheimer's treatment aims to prompt an antibody response. Those antibodies would work to reduce tau buildup in the brain. The drug is being developed in partnership with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).
In an earlier study, the potential Alzheimer's treatment showed encouraging interim safety and was tolerable, AC Immune said in a news release. The biotech company also noted the drug prompted a response from the immune system."The fact (the drug called) ACI-35.030 shows encouraging safety and immunogenicity at the lowest dose in this elderly patient population is highly meaningful and we look forward to quickly enrolling this next dosing group," CEO Pfeifer said.
The second dosing group will receive the experimental Alzheimer's treatment over 48 weeks. The test will take place in patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.
Biotech Companies Making Moves
AC Immune's news follows other recent bullish developments in Alzheimer's treatment.
On Tuesday, Inmune Bio (INMB) shares soared to a record high after the biotech company's experimental Alzheimer's treatment reduced brain inflammation for six patients over the course of 12 weeks.
The potential Alzheimer's treatment operates on the hypothesis that the disease is caused by brain inflammation. It aims to reduce white matter free water, an inflammatory biomarker in the brain.
Earlier this month, Biogen (BIIB) asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve its Alzheimer's treatment, aducanumab. Biogen's drug is controversial as the biotech company first said it failed it two studies. Months later, Biogen said it actually succeeded in one key test.