The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is fast-tracking an experimental Ebola treatment developed by a Vancouver-based pharmaceutical company.
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (TSX:TKM) announced September 22 the FDA had given the company a green light to treat patients with confirmed or suspected Ebola virus infections outside clinical trials.
In July, the FDA put a hold on Tekmira’s TKM-Ebola drug. The hold prevented the pharmaceutical company from conducting clinical trials on humans.
But in August, the U.S. government agency partially lifted the hold, allowing clinical trials on humans.
Tekmira CEO Mark Murray said in a statement the FDA’s new authorization is not the same as conducting controlled clinical trials.
He cautioned doctors might be treating patients who have developed a strain of the virus that emerged following the development of Tekmira’s drug. Furthermore, doctors might also be providing patients with more than one treatment.
The current Ebola outbreak hitting West Africa is the largest in history, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control.
More than 2,600 people have died this year after contracting the virus.
Tekmira is developing TKM-Ebola under a $140 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.
Its stock was trading at $25.97, up 14.06% on the Toronto Stock Exchange by mid-day trading hours.
Tekmira declined an interview request from Business in Vancouver.