Saanich-based pharmaceutical company stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

Saanich-based pharmaceutical company stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Saanich-based pharmaceutical company, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, saw share values soar on Thursday after success with clinical trials for a new lupus drug.

On Dec. 4, the company announced that results from the AURORA Phase 3 drug trials for voclosporin had been successful in treating kidney inflammation in patients with lupus nephritis – an autoimmune disease.

Aurinia’s chief medical officer Neil Solomons explained that patients with lupus can experience “irreversible kidney damage” that can lead to kidney failure and death.

READ ALSO: Saanich biotech company secures $52M US for global drug study

The study included 357 patients from 27 countries living with lupus and the results showed that participants using voclosporin experienced a “renal response rate” of 40.8 per cent while just 22.5 per cent of participants in the control group – those who didn’t receive the drug – saw improvements.

Data also indicated that the group taking voclosporin saw no more adverse events than the group receiving standard lupus treatment, noted Brad Rovin, chief of the nephrology division at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre.

Following the announcement of the drug’s successful Phase 3 trial, the company’s share price exploded on Thursday, rising from Wednesday’s close of $11.13 per share to touch a 52-week high of $23.04 before closing at $19.75. Its shares have risen from a 52-week low of $4.70 to close Friday at $20.48 – a gain of 336 per cent, driving the company’s market cap to $1.93 billion.

Lupus has historically been difficult to treat and new treatment options were needed, said Stevan Gibson, president and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America. Voclosporin is the first effective therapeutic treatment option and the successful trial marks a step forward in treating the potentially deadly disease, he noted.

READ ALSO: Mental health call temporarily shuts down Trans Canada Highway in View Royal

Aurinia co-founder Mike Martin noted that after eight years of hard work, staff are excited about the outcomes of the trial. he emphasized that the drug’s success will be significant for people living with lupus – close to 1 million people worldwide.

“It was a pleasure to share the results,” Martin said. Given the data, he wasn’t surprised by the uptake in stock.

He emphasized how grateful the company is for the participants and for the opportunity to change the trajectory of people’s lives.

The company is planning to put the drug on the market as early as 2021, but first it must pass though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process. The drug was given a fast track by the FDA in 2016 and the company plans to submit to the FDA in early 2020.

With files from Paul Bucci.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Greater Victoria teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

One year in, teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressure from families

Richard Pierce is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Unsung Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Navy veteran helping others cope with post-traumatic stress disorder

Rich Pearce is the West Shore 2021 Unsung Hero

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

The value of new construction in North Saanich topped $52.1 million in 2020 (Peninsula News Review)
Value of new construction in North Saanich topped $52.1 million in 2020

New figures also show 25 per cent increase in number of new secondary suites

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read