ANN ARBOR, Mich. (
) --In another sign of the over-inflated bubble for small-cap biotech stocks, shares of
jumped 40% Wednesday after the company announced partial results of a small study showing its oral zinc nutritional supplement caused fewer upset tummies in Alzheimer's disease patients.
The Adeona study enrolled just 13 Alzheimer's patients and said nothing about whether the company's zinc tablet -- which the company describes as a "medical food" -- could halt the loss of memory and cognitive function that makes Alzheimer's such a devastating disease.
Such details were apparently unimportant Wednesday. All that mattered to traders was that Adeona was able to fit the words "positive results," "study" and "Alzheimer's Disease" into the headline of its press release.
That was enough to push Adeona shares up 62 cents, or 41%, to $2.14 in mid-morning trading. The stock was up over 80% in Wednesday's pre-market trading session. Similar announcements of questionable relevance or value have also fueled a speculative trading frenzy recently in other small-cap biotech and drug stocks like
Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals
Adeona says its study found that patients with Alzheimer's and early cognitive impairment suffered fewer gastrointestinal side effects during treatment with its zinc tablet Zinthionein compared to patients treated with Galzin, a currently marketed prescription zinc pill known to cause stomach upset.
Six of the 13 patients enrolled were treated with Zinthionein, five patients were treated with Galzin and two patients were given a placebo.
Adeona said the study also found that Zinthionein-treated patients had higher levels of zinc in the bloodstream compared to patients treated with Galzin.
The study didn't measure Zinthionein's effect on Alzheimer's disease at all, although Adeona says the next stage of the same study will enroll 60 patients to do that.
Zinthionein is a once-daily tablet containing food-safe zinc designed to cause less stomach upset than other zinc nutritional supplements. Some medical research suggests that Alzheimer's patients have lower blood levels of zinc than people without the disease, although there is no substantive data yet in Alzheimer's patients to suggest that raising the level of zinc to normal levels can have a beneficial impact on the disease.
Regardless, Adeona says it is developing Zinthionein for the "dietary management" of Alzheimer's disease.
Adeona is the new name for Pipex Pharmaceuticals
-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.
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