An experimental drug hits Germany.
Stock prices soared for small company, Northwest Biotherapeutics, since Germany gave it special permission to sell an experimental drug in the country. Stock prices have jumped up at least 36 percent.
The company was provided with a special “hospital exemption” in Germany. This exemption will allow the company to sell the drug in the country for five years, even though it has yet to complete a late-stage trial of immunotherapy.
Linda Powers, Chief Executive Officer of the company, explained that Northwest has yet to ask for or receive formal marketing material for the drug. The company also has the right to seek renewal of the previous exemption after five years.
Stocks for Northwest were high even before the announcement, climbing to 60 percent before the news broke. Wall Street is closely monitoring the company, which has produced promising results for its DCVax-L drug in a small number of patients. However, some people wonder if the same results will be shown in a larger population.
Through the exemption in Germany, the company will be allowed to sell DCVax-L in hospitals and associated outpatient clinics for patients whose cancer has begun in the brain and that spans a wide range of severities.
Currently, the drug is only being tested for patients who have recently been diagnosed with Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), which is the most severe form of the disease.
Powers notes that this is the first hospital exemption in Germany regarding a product that has yet to hit the market. She is hopeful that the move will allow other European countries to also consider DCVax-L.
Nearly 3,000 new cases of GBM are noted in Germany each year, according to estimates from Powers. Additionally, she says that an additional 4,000 cases of lower-grade brain tumors are also going to be eligible for treatment with DCVax-L.
Powers says that the company plans to begin selling its drug over the next few months in Germany.