What happened

Shares of clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Rubius Therapeutics (RUBY) are soaring through the roof on Monday following the company's release of data from an ongoing clinical trial for RTX-240, an experimental cancer treatment. Rubius Therapeutics' stock was up by 71.8% as of 1:08 p.m. EDT after jumping by as much as 135.6% earlier in the day.

So what

In a phase 1/2 clinical trial for RTX-240 on patients with advanced solid tumors, the therapy showed encouraging safety and efficacy signs, as demonstrated by initial clinical data revealed by the company today. Specifically, RTX-240 led to a partial response (a decrease in the size of the tumor as a result of the treatment) in a patient with metastatic anal cancer and another patient with metastatic uveal melanoma.

While positive data from an early-stage clinical trial may not seem like a big deal, Rubius Therapeutics argues that these results serve as a proof of concept for its approach to developing innovative treatments, which focuses on genetically engineering red blood cells to create medicines for autoimmune disorders. 

Man standing on a ladder drawing an upward pointing graph on a board.

Image source: Getty Images.

This approach has the potential to unlock therapies for difficult-to-treat illnesses, or so the argument goes. Christina Coughlin, Rubius Therapeutics' chief medical officer, said, "These initial data are incredibly exciting and demonstrate that RTX-240 has the potential to generate single-agent activity in patients with solid tumors, including a cold tumor such as metastatic uveal melanoma, where other treatments have failed to induce responses in patients."

Now what

For long-term investors, it is much too early to get in on Rubius Therapeutics. The company has no products on the market, and all of its programs are still in their early stages. Despite today's encouraging news, Rubius Therapeutics can run into regulatory roadblocks or negative clinical trials as it moves ahead with the development of its innovative medicines. In short, it might be best to stay a safe distance away from this healthcare stock for now.