Tekmira Sinks 15%; Anti-Ebola Drug Trial Halted For Safety Concerns
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TKMR) shares sank 15 percent after the company revealed the Phase I trial of one of its lead drug candidates was put on hold by the Food and Drug Administration for safety concerns.
The anti-Ebola virus RNAi drug is being developed under a $140 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense and has been granted so-called Fast Track status by the FDA.
The trial was put on hold by the FDA, which demanded a change in protocol to ensure the safety of volunteer subjects.
The agency also requested additional data related to the mechanism of cytokine release, observed at higher doses. Tekmira said, however, the mechanism "is well understood."
Chief Executive Mark Murray said in a statement that "we will continue our dialogue with the FDA to advance the development" of the product.
RBC analyst Michael Yee said the study placed on hold "isn't a primary value driver" and that investor expectations are already very low.
Yee cut his price target to $25 from $30 and maintained an Outperform on the shares, as reported by Bloomberg news service.
Tekmira closed Thursday at $11.63, down 15.54 percent.
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