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Why OXiGENE Shares are up 40 Percent Friday (OXGN)

Shares of OXiGENE (NASDAQ: OXGN) are up nearly 40 percent after the company announced that it’s experimental ovarian cancer drug, Zybrestat, received orphan drug status from European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Orphan drug status is granted to drugs indicated for the treatment of life-threatening or serious diseases that affect less than 6 out of 10,000 people. The status grants the developer a period of exclusivity, access to a centralized review process, the waiving of marketing and post-marketing fees, and other perks designed to encourage companies to develop treatments for rare conditions.

Zybrestat is being developed by OXiGENE for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer and is currently in phase 2 testing.

“Obtaining orphan drug status for ZYBRESTAT in the EU is an important milestone in advancing OXiGENE’s clinical strategy in ovarian cancer,” said Peter Langecker, M.D., Ph.D., OXiGENE’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are particularly excited about the ongoing GOG Phase 2 trial, as it is the first, and currently the only, randomized trial to test an anti-angiogenic therapeutic agent combined with a vascular disrupting agent in ovarian cancer, without including any cytotoxic chemotherapy. Both preclinically and clinically this combination has been shown to result in more significant reduction in blood flow that can starve and kill the tumor than either drug alone. Strategically it is important to note that in the EU Avastin(R) is already approved for the treatment of ovarian cancer as a single agent. We have been gratified by the broad interest in ZYBRESTAT within the worldwide oncology community, and look forward to advancing this program toward registration, either with the support of a corporate partner or on our own.”

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Disclosure: At the time of this writing, the author had no position in the company mentioned.

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