What happened

Shares of Affimed N.V. (AFMD -2.31%) are rising sharply on Wednesday following the company's release of a clinical update regarding one of its pipeline candidates. As of 1:40 p.m. EST, Affimed's stock was up by 15.2% after rising by as much as 20.7% earlier in the day.

So what

Affimed NV is investigating AFM13 as a treatment for relapsed or refractory CD30-positive peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL). Today, the company announced that it would continue enrolling patients for a phase 2 clinical trial for AFM13 after a preplanned interim futility analysis demonstrated positive results.

The analysis showed that the response rate in cohort A in the trial achieved a predefined threshold for the continuation of the study. Meanwhile, the response rate in cohort B was comparable enough to that of cohort A to justify combining both into a single cohort.

Microscopic view of cancer cell.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

According to the study's principal investigator Won Seog Kim, PTCL is an aggressive and difficult-to-treat form of cancer that requires new therapeutic options. Affimed's AFM13 takes a different approach than most other cancer therapies. The goal of this treatment is to restore "a patient's innate immune system function."

If Affimed's AFM13 proves safe and effective in clinical trials, it could turn into a cash cow for the company. But there is still a long road ahead for this pipeline candidate, and there are still significant obstacles for the company to overcome. Further, Affimed currently has no products on the market. With that in mind, and while it might be worth keeping an eye on Affimed, I think it is too early to initiate a position in this healthcare stock