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Xoma rises on data from new studies of gevokizumab

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October 31, 2013 10:14 AM EST | AP


NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Xoma traded higher Thursday after the company reported positive results from two studies of its experimental inflammatory disease drug gevokizumab.

THE SPARK: The company said the drug appears to be working as a treatment for erosive osteoarthritis of the hand. After three months of testing, patients treated with gevokizumab experienced bigger improvements in their symptoms than patients who were given a placebo. The Berkeley, Calif., company said it plans to speak to regulators about requirements for late-stage testing of gevokizumab.

Xoma also it will proceed to larger studies of gevokizumab as a treatment for a rare skin disease called pyoderma gangrenosum based on promising early data.

THE BIG PICTURE: The larger study is designed to evaluate gevokizumab as a treatment for pain, stiffness, and loss of physical function caused by erosive osteoarthritis of the hand. The company said that according to a survey measuring their symptoms, patients on gevokizumab did better than patients who took a placebo after 12 weeks. The study will continue until all patients have been treated for six months, and it will also include radiographic imaging to observe changes in joint damage.

The company said it has "compelling data" from the first four patients who took gevokizumab as a treatment for pyoderma gangrenosum. Pyoderma gangrenosum causes large, painful sores on the skin, usually the legs. The Mayo Clinic says the condition is believed to be an immune system disorder.

Xoma Corp. is a development-stage company without any products on the market. It is also studying gevokizumab as a treatment for uveitis, a swelling of the uvea, which is the middle layer of the eye.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Xoma gained 23 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $4.60 in morning trading. The stock has climbed 91 percent in 2013.