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Pieris Jumps on Grant for Drug to Treat Lung Scarring From COVID

Pieris received a grant of $17 million from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs for a drug to treat lung scarring in COVID sufferers.
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Shares of Pieris Pharmaceuticals  (PIRS) - Get Report jumped on Friday after the biotech received a grant from Bavaria to develop a drug to treat lung scarring suffered by long-term COVID victims.

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.

Pieris recently traded at $5.05, up 15%, following on Thursday's 23% leap. The shares have more than doubled over the past month.

The Bavarian grant will enable Pieris to “address an evolving medical need precipitated by the global COVID-19 pandemic that we believe will persist," said Stephen Yoder, Pieris’s chief executive.

In May, Pieris said it entered a drug-development agreement with Roche's RHHBY Genentech.

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Under the agreement, Pieris and the subsidiary of the Swiss health-care giant will discover, develop and commercialize respiratory and ophthalmology therapies. The venture will use Pieris's Anticalin technology platform.

Terms call for Pieris to receive $20 million up front. It then may be eligible to receive more than $1.4 billion in milestone payments across multiple programs, as well as tiered royalties for products that are commercialized.

In other health news, the FDA granted breakthrough status to Eli Lilly’s  (LLY) - Get Report donanemab treatment for Alzheimer’s disease Thursday.

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.