What happened

RedHill Biopharma (NASDAQ:RDHL) shot as much as 16% higher on Monday morning following the very encouraging news that one of its pipeline drugs showed promise in the treatment of patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Close up of coronavirus.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

That drug, opaganib, was administered in a 14-day compassionate-use program in Israel to a group of six hospitalized patients suffering from moderate to severe acute respiratory symptoms arising from the coronavirus.

RedHill said preliminary data indicates that the six "demonstrated objective significant measurable clinical improvement within days following treatment initiation."

Opaganib is an oral medication that targets several oncological, gastrointestinal, and inflammatory indications. Compassionate use is when an extremely ill patient is allowed to be administered a drug that has not yet received regulatory approval if there are no other suitable treatments available.

Now what

The world is holding its collective breath for a medication that will treat the coronavirus and/or the disease it causes, COVID-19. So any news of possible efficacious treatment will send the relevant stock skyward purely on hope.

There is much investigational work to be done on opaganib; this compassionate-use program was very small. RedHill has submitted an Investigational New Drug Application (NDA) to the FDA for a randomized clinical study of COVID-19 patients in the U.S. It says that studies are also being planned in Israel and Italy. Many eyes will be on the company to see how opaganib fares when put through those paces.