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Arbutus Higher After Report of Progress With Hepatitis B Drug

Data support continued evaluation of AB-729 'as the cornerstone of combination treatment' for Hepatitis B,' Arbutus Biopharma said.

Arbutus Biopharma  (ABUS) - Get Arbutus Biopharma Corporation Report shares jumped on Monday after the company reported progress with GalNAc-siRNA AB-729, a hepatitis drug.

“Repeat dosing of AB-729 results in modest reductions in hepatitis B core-related antigen and hepatitis B e antigen,” the company said. 

“Repeat dosing of AB-729 was safe and well tolerated.”

Further, “These data support the continued evaluation of AB-729 as the cornerstone of combination treatment to achieve functional cure of chronic Hepatitis B virus.”

Arbutus recently traded at $3.89, up 15%. The shares of the Warminster, Pa., company had slipped 7% in the six months through Friday.

In other health news, Pieris Pharmaceuticals  (PIRS) - Get Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Report said on Friday that it received a grant from Bavaria to develop a drug to treat lung scarring suffered by long-term COVID victims.

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The grant totals 14.2 million euro ($17 million) from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs. The inhaled drug is PRS-220. Clinical development of the program is expected to begin next year, the Boston company said.

Last Thursday, the FDA granted breakthrough status to Eli Lilly’s  (LLY) - Get Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) Report donanemab treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

That speeds the Food and Drug Administration’s consideration of the drug for marketing clearance. Lilly said it intends to submit a biologics-license application for donanemab later this year under the accelerated approval process.

Cowen analyst Steve Scala on Thursday affirmed an outperform rating for the company.

The FDA’s move on donanemab comes 17 days after its controversial decision to approve Biogen’s  (BIIB) - Get Biogen Inc. Report Aduhelm to treat Alzheimer’s.

Analysts had upgraded Biogen after the FDA decision on Aduhelm, though the approval sparked criticism from some experts.