What happened

RedHill Biopharma (RDHL -1.88%) was a standout stock on a gloomy Monday for the market. The biotech's shares rose by just under 12% on positive and not entirely expected news about its top pipeline drug.

So what

Monday morning, RedHill announced that its opaganib produced a 62% statistically significant reduction in mortality in hospitalized individuals with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. This was according to new data from a global phase 2/3 study.

A medical professional using a microscope.

Image source: Getty Images.

This surprised more than a few investors and observers of the biotech, as preliminary top-line data released from the study last month wasn't nearly as heartening. That data showed that opaganib didn't meet its primary endpoint of having a sufficient number of patients breathing without being administered oxygen.

Opaganib is an oral medication currently being studied for a number of indications. Besides COVID-19 pneumonia, it could potentially be used to treat certain cancers, in addition to inflammatory and gastrointestinal difficulties. 

"These new findings support the potential for opaganib's use in hospitalized, moderately severe COVID-19 patients -- a key group of patients that are at high risk of disease progression, morbidity and mortality, and who may benefit from opaganib's combined antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities," RedHill quoted its medical director Mark Levitt as saying.

Now what

While there's still much investigational work to be done with opaganib, this fresh news is quite encouraging -- particularly considering that the delta variant is still wreaking havoc on the world's collective health.

RedHill clearly sees much potential in its pipeline drug. Levitt added that, "We are excited about this promising and robust dataset. We are not aware of any other novel oral pill-based therapy that has shown a similar magnitude of difference in the mortality outcomes of hospitalized patients who are at this moderately severe stage of disease."