Though the major indices posted a strong recovery effort on Wednesday, late-stage clinical biopharmaceutical firm Geron (NASDAQ:GERN) soared above most public players. Following positive top-line results for its blood cancer therapeutic, GERN stock jumped 50% before settling around 34% up in the early afternoon. Enticingly, the drug carries the potential to become a first-in-class therapy for the specific condition it addresses.
According to the company’s press release, Geron’s telomerase inhibitor imetelstat — used for lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) patients — achieved its primary efficacy endpoint of an eight-week transfusion independence (or TI) in its IMerge Phase 3 clinical trial. In addition, Geron achieved a key secondary endpoint of 24-week TI.
Per the official statement, the study demonstrated a “highly statistically significant and clinically meaningful benefit of imetelstat versus placebo with no new safety signals and safety results consistent with prior imetelstat clinical trials.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, MDS represents a “group of disorders caused by blood cells that are poorly formed or don’t work properly. Myelodysplastic syndromes result from something amiss in the spongy material inside your bones where blood cells are made (bone marrow).”
Significantly, the Mayo Clinic adds, “[m]anagement of myelodysplastic syndromes is most often intended to slow the disease, ease symptoms and prevent complications. Common measures include blood transfusions and medications to boost blood cell production.”
Therefore, GERN stock jumped substantially on the underlying quality-of-life improvement for impacted patients. Per the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation, anemia epitomizes a key symptom of MDS patients.
High Optimism for GERN Stock
While the main concern for any advanced therapeutic centers on the patient, GERN stock likely skyrocketed on transformational implications. From the Mayo Clinic, “[i]n certain situations [involving MDS], a bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant, may be recommended to replace your bone marrow with healthy bone marrow from a donor.”
This process sounds easier on paper than in practice. Natively, going under the knife carries its own anxieties. However, the American Cancer Society notes that the rehabilitation process may be incredibly challenging. “It can take 6 to 12 months, or even longer, for blood counts to get close to normal and your immune system to work well.”
In a statement published by Reuters, Geron’s Chief Medical Officer Faye Feller remarked that the Phase 3 results suggest that treatment with imetelstat “may be altering the course of the disease.” Not surprisingly, investors picked up on the enthusiasm, boosting GERN stock.
Reuters added that “[b]ased on the data, the company plans to submit applications for approval in the United States in mid-2023 and in Europe in the second half of 2023, and anticipates commercial launch in 2024.”
Even before the latest development, GERN stock represented one of the power hitters of 2022, more than doubling in value. However, with the most recent pop, Geron returned shareholders an eyewatering 164% in the trailing year.
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On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.