What happened?

Shares of biotech company Infinity Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INFI) are soaring through the roof on Thursday following the company's release of data from a phase 2 clinical trial for one of its pipeline candidates. As of 12:03 p.m. EST, the drugmaker's stock was up by 21%, after jumping by as much as 51.4% earlier today.

So what

The trial in question investigated the safety and efficacy of the combination of Infinity Pharmaceuticals' eganelisib with nivolumab (a cancer treatment marketed as Opdivo by Bristol Myers Squibb) in patients with advanced urothelial cancer. During the study, the combination therapy demonstrated an increased immune activation and a decreased immune suppression compared to treatment with nivolumab alone.

The results were even more pronounced for PD-L1 negative patients (PD-L1 is a type of protein), which is an important factor. According to the lead study investigator Piotr Tomczak, PD-L1 low patients "represent the majority of metastatic urothelial cancer population." The combination of eganelisib and nivolumab was also well tolerated at the 30 mg once per day dose; during the study, the median average daily dose was 31.5 mg.

Hand drawing upward-bound graph.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Shares of small-cap biotech companies such as Infinity Pharmaceuticals often skyrocket due to positive results from clinical trials. However, it is important for investors with a long-term mindset to exercise extreme caution. Despite the impressive data the healthcare company presented, there is still a long road ahead before this combination treatment gets the regulatory nod, that is, if it makes it that far at all. In the meantime, a lot can happen to derail the plans of Infinity Pharmaceuticals, including negative results from other clinical trials for some of its other programs. With those risks in mind, it might be best to stay a safe distance away from this drugmaker for now. 

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