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What: Shares of ChemoCentryx (NASDAQ:CCXI) have gained more than 60% as of this writing (the stock peaked at a 75% gain at the opening bell) after the tiny biotech company announced positive results in the Phase 2 trials of CCX140.
So what: CCX140 is an inhibitor for the CCR2 chemokine receptor and is meant to treat diabetic nephropathy, which is a complication of diabetes that can result in severe kidney damage. The drug successfully met its targets during the Phase 2 trial by reducing urinary albumin creatinine ratios by statistically significant rates over the current standards of care for diabetic nephropathy. CCX140 also improved estimated glomerular filtration rates, but this improvement was in line with other drugs approved to treat the condition. CCX140 had no effect on patients' systemic blood pressure, which is a big win for the drug's safety profile, as this result implies a localized treatment effect on the damaged kidneys. The study followed 196 patients over the course of a full year.
ChemoCentryx CEO Thomas J. Schall told the press that "given the positive improvements... observed in this clinical trial, we believe we have an effective dose of CCX140 to take forward into a Phase 3 clinical trial in diabetic nephropathy, and that we are well positioned to advance partnering discussions as well as an end of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA."
Now what: ChemoCentryx's press release notes that "of the 26 million patients with chronic kidney disease, approximately 35% of those are patients with diabetes." That's nine million potential patients for CCX140.
There are a number of drugs that purport to treat diabetic nephrophathy, according to several online drug and medical information repositories, but ChemoCentryx quotes Dr. Dick de Zeeuw of the University Medical Center of Groningen, Netherlands, as saying that "to date, no great successes of new drugs on surrogates like blood pressure, albuminuria, or estimated glomerular filtration rate have been reported. These robust results with CCX140, in this context, are extremely relevant and promising, particularly if translated into preservation of renal function. CCX140 should definitely be tested in a Phase 3 trial."
Since this was quoted in a company press release announcing CCX140's Phase 2 success, it should probably be taken with a grain of salt -- but savvy biotech investors may want to keep an eye on ChemoCentryx and dig deeper into true potential of this drug.;
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