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NeoStem(NBS) surged higher in Thursday's afternoon trade after the company said it will receive $17.7 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), an independent scientific body, to support its treatment for patients with stage III recurrent or stage IV metastatic melanoma.
Shares of the provider of cellular therapy products were up 33.9% at $3.08, with a 52-week range of $2.15 - $7.23.
The CIRM grant is one of the largest research grants of its kind. It is expected to fund a significant portion of the pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial investigating a personalized cancer treatment and currently enrolling patients at centers across the United States.
NeoStem's (NBS) therapeutic candidate, NBS20, targets a patient's cancer-initiating cells, often called "cancer stem cells," which are those that proliferate cancer cells, spreading the disease and forming new tumors throughout the body.
Trial results to date support the expectation that this novel approach will improve overall survival. In a Phase 2 randomized, controlled trial of the therapy, results showed a 72% two-year survival rate, compared with 31 percent in the control group.
The company believes that if the Phase 3 trial is successful, and the therapy is then approved by the FDA, it could be a breakthrough in the treatment of metastatic melanoma patients and available as early as 2018.
The product candidate has been granted both Fast Track and Orphan Drug designations from the FDA, and the protocol is the subject of a Special Protocol Assessment with FDA. Additionally, the European Medicines Agency has classified NBS20 as an Advanced Therapeutic Medicinal Product
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