Omeros Corp shares went up by 60 percent after it announced on Monday that its experimental treatment enabled the recovery of six patients struggling from respiratory distress syndrome caused by COVID-19.

The company also said that talks were in progress with the US government for a potential funding in order to expedite large-scale manufacturing for the broader availability of the promising treatment, narsoplimab.

Targets Damage to Endothelial Cells

All six patients had underlying conditions and needed mechanical ventilation before treatment, Omeros said. Acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, causes fluid to collect in the lungs, depriving organs of oxygen. COVID-19 patients with ARDS often require intensive care.

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Representational Picture Vera Kratochvil/publicdomainpictures.net

The small study was done in Italy's Bergamo, the initial epicenter of COVID-19 in Europe, under a compassionate use program following requests from doctors at the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital. Narsoplimab is a human monoclonal antibody that recognizes and locks onto a virus, preventing the infection from spreading. The company said it targets damage to endothelial cells, a general marker of both the disease and recovery.

Received NDA's Breakthrough Tag

The therapy has already been studied in a pivotal trial for a stem cell transplant-related complication and in late-stage studies for two kidney conditions. Narsoplimab was also granted US FDA's breakthrough tag for these indications, but the agency has not yet approved the drug for any use.

The US government, under its "Operation Warp Speed" initiative aimed at accelerating access to vaccines and treatments to fight COVID-19, has so far agreed to invest more than $7 billion in vaccines and has funded more than 30 projects, including those for diagnostics and treatments.

Omeros did not provide further details of its talks with the US government. It did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for additional comments. The company's shares rose as much as 80 percent to a two-year high of $25.46, before trading at $22.18.

(With inputs from agencies)