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Why the CLINUVEL (ASX:CUV) share price is shooting higher

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The CLINUVEL Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX: CUV) share price has been a very strong performer on Thursday.

In morning trade the biopharmaceutical company’s shares are up 5.5% to $20.80.

Why is the CLINUVEL share price storming higher?

Investors have been buying CLINUVEL’s shares after it announced plans to expand its SCENESSE drug (afamelanotide 16mg) to treat the disease xeroderma pigmentosum (XP).

XP is rare genetic disorder affecting 1 in 1 million in the United States and Europe. Sufferers have the most extreme deficiencies in their DNA repair processes, leading to a 10,000-fold increase in their risk of skin cancer. There is no known cure for XP at present.

Having commercialised SCENESSE in Europe and the USA for the rare genetic disorder Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP), CLINUVEL is now aiming to confirm how intervention with the drug enhances elimination of photoproducts and regeneration of DNA.

CLINUVEL’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Dennis Wright, commented “In SCENESSE we have a hormone acting on various organs and receptors, but most of all known to protect human DNA. Our task is to confirm how DNA regeneration occurs within genetically affected patients and healthy subjects.”

“Tragically, XP provides an extreme model of what happens to our skin if UV-induced damage is left unrepaired. From a young age, XP patients are incapable of responding to DNA damage caused by UV exposure and experience disfiguring and aggressive skin cancers.”

“After two decades of clinical research, I’m delighted that our team can now focus on the XP patients who are severely affected by UV radiation leaving them a short life expectancy. We will facilitate treatment for the first patient in the next few weeks,” Dr Wright said.

The company advised that the first clinical results from the DNA repair program are expected to be reported in 2021.

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