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Mesoblast share price rockets 30% higher on COVID-19 treatment hopes

One of the best performers on the Australian share market on Friday is the Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB) share price.

In morning trade the allogeneic cellular medicines developer’s shares are up a massive 30% to $2.58.

Why is the Mesoblast share price rocketing higher?

Investors have been scrambling to buy Mesoblast’s shares this morning after it provided an update on trials of its allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell product candidate remestemcel-L in ventilator-dependent COVID-19 patients.

That update revealed that it has experienced an 83% survival rate in ventilator-dependent COVID-19 patients (10 out of 12 patients) with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). These patients were treated during the period March-April 2020 with two intravenous infusions of Mesoblast’s allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell product candidate remestemcel-L within the first five days.

Furthermore, 75% (9 out of 12 patients) have successfully come off ventilator support at a median of 10 days and 7 have been discharged from New York City’s Mt Sinai hospital. Though, it is worth noting that Mesoblast’s patients received a variety of experimental agents prior to remestemcel-L.

How does this compare?

As a comparison, only 9% (38 out of 445) of ventilator-dependent COVID-19 patients at a major referral hospital network in New York City were able to come off ventilator support when treated with the current standard of care during March/April 2020.

Sadly, the company also notes that the survival rate at another major hospital network was only 12% during the same period for ventilator-dependent COVID19 patients treated with the current standard of care.

“Remarkable clinical outcomes.”

Mesoblast’s Chief Executive, Dr Silviu Itescu, hailed the outcomes of these trials.

He commented: “The remarkable clinical outcomes in these critically ill patients continue to underscore the potential benefits of remestemcel-L as an anti-inflammatory agent in cytokine release syndromes associated with high mortality, including acute graft versus host disease and COVID-19 ARDS.”

“We intend to rapidly complete the randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 2/3 trial in COVID-19 ARDS patients to rigorously confirm that remestemcel-L improves survival in these critically ill patients,” Dr Itescu added.

Overall, it is still early days but this appears to be a very promising development in treating this devastating virus. I’ll be keeping a close eye on its development in the coming weeks and months.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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