UPDATE 3-U.S., Canada allow emergency use of Tekmira's Ebola treatment

Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:44pm EDT
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Sept 22 (Reuters) - Canadian drugmaker Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp said on Monday that U.S. and Canadian regulators have authorized the use of its Ebola treatment in patients who have confirmed or suspected infections from the deadly virus.

The Vancouver-based company said its treatment, TKM-Ebola, has been administered to patients on an emergency basis and the repeat infusions have been well-tolerated.

The drug was administered to Rick Sacra, a doctor who contracted the virus in West Africa, and who has shown promising signs, the Nebraska Medical Center said in a statement.

TKM-Ebola, an RNAi therapeutic, works by preventing the virus from replicating.

Expanded access protocols, authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada, allow drug developers to offer experimental therapies to patients with serious diseases who cannot participate in controlled clinical trials.

Tekmira Chief Executive Officer Mark Murray said the company's supplies of the treatment are limited.

The company is developing TKM-Ebola under a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Tekmira's shares closed 15 percent up at C$26.01 in Toronto and up 17 percent at $23.61 on the Nasdaq. (Reporting By Amrutha Penumudi in Bangalore and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Simon Jennings and Jeffrey Benkoe)