UPDATE 1-Tekmira shares skyrocket as Ebola outbreak intensifies in Africa

Fri Aug 1, 2014 2:36pm EDT
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By Sayantani Ghosh and Ashutosh Pandey

Aug 1 (Reuters) - Shares of Canada's Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp , which hopes to produce the first treatment for the deadly Ebola virus, have skyrocketed as the worst-ever outbreak of the virus intensified in West Africa.

Though testing of the company's treatment TKM-Ebola on humans was put on hold last month due to safety concerns, investors scrambled to buy its stock, sending shares up 7.5 percent to $13.77 in Nasdaq trading Friday, and up more than 50 percent over the past fortnight.

"The recent outbreak in West Africa is as profound as any we have seen in recent decades," said Euro Pacific Canada analyst Douglas Loe.

"We have solid pre-clinical evidence showing that TKM-Ebola is effective at eradicating Ebola symptoms, giving us confidence that its development activities could resume," he said.

The outbreak forced Sierra Leone to declare a state of emergency and call in troops to quarantine victims on Thursday. The country joined neighbor Liberia in imposing tough controls as the death toll in West Africa exceeded 700.

Indeed, the outbreak is outpacing efforts to control it, but could be stopped, World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan said on Friday.   Continued...