CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Tekmira Pharma shares give up sharp gains after Ebola report

Mon Aug 4, 2014 5:18pm EDT
 
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(In 3rd paragraph, corrects name of agency to U.S. Food and Drug Administration, not Federal Drug Administration)

By Akane Otani

Aug 4 (Reuters) - Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals soared on Monday, only to slump on Nasdaq after a CNN report suggested another company was first in line to see its Ebola treatment used to treat an outbreak in Africa.

CNN reported Monday that two American missionary workers who had contracted Ebola were treated with varying success by a drug from biotech company Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc, a private company.

Tekmira, based in Canada, was one of a few companies to have developed Ebola treatments advanced enough to be tested on people. On July 3, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed a hold on a clinical trial for a Tekmira drug in development due to safety concerns. On Friday, however, the FDA said it "stands ready" to work with patients in need of treatment.

Hope that Tekmira's drug might be used in the wake of the outbreak sparked a furious rally in the shares Monday morning. The stock gained more than 18 percent before slumping on the news that a drug developed by Mapp had been used to treat two patients.

The stock, as of midday, was down 7.2 percent to $13.23 a share with more than 7 million shares traded, the busiest day in the stock's history. The stock had rallied 70 percent between July 18 and Monday's open as concerns over the Ebola outbreak mounted.

Canadian markets were closed for a public holiday. The company's Toronto-listed shares closed up 12.4 percent on Friday.

Tekmira's drug, TKM-Ebola, has not been given to "anyone else infected in the current outbreak, and has not been given to anyone outside of our Phase I trials," Canadian Press cited Tekmira as saying in an email.

The Mapp Biopharmaceutical drug, ZMapp, has not been approved for human use yet, according to CNN. The two patients were reported to be in stable condition after being given the drug.

At least 227 people in Liberia and at least 826 people in the region have been killed by the Ebola virus, according to the World Health Organization. (Editing by W Simon)