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Chimerix Shares Rise 50% as FDA Gives 'Go Ahead' for Phase 2/3 ALI Study in COVID-19 Patients

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Shares of Chimerix Inc. traded higher after the company reported it has received U.S. FDA clearance to initiate a Phase 2/3 Study of dociparstat sodium in acute lung injury for patients afflicted with severe COVID-19.

Biopharmaceutical company Chimerix Inc. (CMRX:NASDAQ), which focuses on developing medicines to treat cancer and other serious diseases, today announced that it will initiate a Phase 2/3 study of dociparstat sodium (DSTAT) in COVID-19 patients suffering from acute lung injury (ALI).

The firm explained that "DSTAT is a glycosaminoglycan derivative of heparin with robust anti-inflammatory properties, including the potential to address underlying causes of coagulation disorders with substantially reduced risk of bleeding complications compared to commercially available forms of heparin."

Joseph Lasky, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Section Chief, John W. Deming, M.D. Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine at Tulane University Medical School commented, "Given the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have evaluated many potential targets to address the clinical manifestations associated with severe COVID-19...Based on the literature, we believe DSTAT has the potential to reduce the excessive inflammation, immune cell infiltration and hypercoagulation associated with poor outcomes in patients with severe COVID-19 infection."

The company's CEO Mike Sherman remarked, " DSTAT is well-suited to unlock the anti-inflammatory properties of heparin as it may be dosed at much higher levels than any available form of heparin without triggering bleeding complications...We had planned to evaluate DSTAT in several indications of high unmet need, including ALI from different causes. The pandemic intensified our focus on ALI associated with COVID-19. Our team has worked closely with critical care physicians treating COVID-19 patients and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop a Phase 2/3 protocol to determine if DSTAT can reduce the need for mechanical ventilation and improve the rate of survival in patients with severe COVID-19 infection."

The company outlined its plans for the study indicating that it will be a randomized, double-blind Phase 2/3 trial to determine the safety and efficacy of DSTAT in adults with severe COVID-19 who are at a high risk of respiratory failure. The study subjects will be confirmed COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization and supplemental oxygen therapy. The primary endpoint established in the study is the percentage of subjects who survive and do not require mechanical ventilation through 28 days. Several secondary endpoints listed include time needed for showing improvement, time to hospital discharge, time to resolution of fever, number of ventilator-free days, all-cause mortality and changes in several key biomarkers.

The study will begin by enrolling 24 subjects in Phase 2 to first establish dosage levels and then expand to 74 total patients. The firm advised that if Phase 2 results are positive, it would enroll approximately 450 subjects in the Phase 3 portion of the study.

The company reported that "the clinical manifestations of COVID-19 range from mild, self-limited respiratory tract illness to severe alveolar damage and progressive respiratory failure, multiple organ failure, and death. Mortality in COVID-19 is associated with severe pulmonary disease and coagulation disorders such as disseminated intravascular coagulation." The firm indicated that the mechanisms of action of DSTAT may address overactive inflammatory response including underlying causes of blood coagulation disorders associated with COVID-19.

Chimerix is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Durham, N.C. which is engaged in advancing medicines in the areas of cancer and other serious diseases. The company listed that it presently has two active clinical-stage development programs. The first is dociparstat sodium (DSTAT) which is a glycosaminoglycan compound derived from porcine heparin that has low anticoagulant activity. The second pipeline candidate is brincidofovir (BCV) which is an antiviral drug being developed as a medical countermeasure for smallpox.

Chimerix began the day with a market capitalization of around $93.2 million with approximately 61.74 million shares outstanding. CMRX shares opened 30% higher today at $1.97 (+$0.46, +30.46%) over yesterday's $1.51 closing price. The stock has traded today between $1.82 to $2.62 per share and is currently trading at $2.27 (+$0.76, +50.33%).

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