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Why Vir Biotechnology Stock Skyrocketed Today

By Joe Tenebruso - Updated Jan 26, 2021 at 5:03PM

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The immunology specialist is seeking a cure for hepatitis B.

What happened 

Shares of Vir Biotechnology (VIR -4.06%) soared 74% on Tuesday after the immunology company released promising results from an early-stage study of its experimental antibody treatment for the hepatitis B virus (HBV). 

So what

Preliminary data from Vir Biotechnology's phase 1 trial of its subcutaneously administered monoclonal antibody, VIR-3434, showed a marked reduction in HBV surface antigen levels in patients with chronic HBV infection.

A person is pointing to an upwardly sloping line.

Vir Biotechnology's stock surged on Tuesday. Image source: Getty Images.

Better still, Vir Biotechnology engineered VIR-3434 to include a vaccinal mutation that could potentially allow it to function as a T cell vaccine against HBV.

"The need for a functional cure for the nearly 300 million people living with chronic HBV is paramount," Dr. Kosh Agarwal, the lead study investigator, said in a press release. "Lowering HBsAg [the HBV virus surface antigen] may help unlock a patient's immune system, allowing it to provide the immune control necessary to achieve a functional cure."

Now what

In addition to its HBV treatment, Vir Biotechnology also designed its experimental COVID-19 antibody therapy, VIR-7832, to include the XX2 vaccinal mutation technology, to which it has exclusive rights. The company plans to begin a phase 1b/2a trial of VIR-7832 in the coming weeks.

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