What happened

Shares of NRx Pharmaceuticals (NRXP -7.18%) are rising sharply for the second time this week. On Tuesday, the stock jumped higher after the company relayed some positive regulatory developments. Today, investors are excited about clinical trial results for aviptadil, a potential new treatment for respiratory failure caused by COVID-19. The biotech stock was up 33.8% as of 10:54 a.m. EDT on Thursday.  

So what 

This morning, an infectious-disease journal published peer-reviewed results of an open-label trial with aviptadil and critically ill COVID patients. An impressive 81% of patients treated with aviptadil survived at least 60 days compared to just 21% of patients given standard care.

Man reading financial pages in a newspaper.

Image source: Getty Images.

The number of severe COVID infections has dropped considerably since the study, but there could still be enough to drive significant sales. As a clinical-stage company without any approved drugs generating revenue, even modest sales of aviptadil could lead to market-beating gains for NRx Pharmaceuticals investors.

Now what

Unfortunately, we still don't know when NRx Pharmaceuticals will get a chance to launch aviptadil. The results presented today are interesting, but there's more work to do.

Today's announcement came from an open-label trial conducted in a single hospital system without any randomization. Investigators simply treated 21 consecutive eligible patients who were admitted to a single hospital system in Houston during the summer of 2020.

In place of a placebo, investigators used patients with similar comorbidities admitted before and after the group who were treated with aviptadil. These results are interesting. On their own, though, they won't be sufficient to support an Emergency Use Authorization request.