Clinuvel (ASX:CUV) share price lower despite positive update

This biopharmaceutical company is hoping to fix a huge unmet need…

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The Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX: CUV) share price is under pressure on Monday despite the release of a positive announcement.

The biopharmaceutical company’s shares are down 2.5% to $28.07 in afternoon trade.

Despite this, the Clinuvel share price is still up an impressive 23% since the start of the year.

What did Clinuvel announce?

This morning Clinuvel announced that its afamelanotide drug has been administered to a first patient diagnosed with an acute arterial ischaemic stroke (AIS).

The release explains that the patient was enrolled in a world’s first clinical trial (CUV801) after suffering an acute stroke and being admitted to a specialist neurological hospital in Australia to receive treatment.

Clinuvel advised that a total of six adult AIS patients will be evaluated in the Phase II CUV801 study, which is focusing on the safety and therapeutic potential of afamelanotide in patients who are ineligible for standard stroke therapy.

Clinuvel’s Clinical Operations Manager, Dr Pilar Bilbao, said: “The immediate aim in acute AIS treatment, is to bring back the patient’s neurological and muscular functions by improving the blood flow to the affected site of the brain. Our unambiguous aim is to develop a treatment for 70% to 80% of the stroke patients who currently have no alternative treatment.”

Why afamelanotide?

According to the release, scientific progress has demonstrated melanocortins, including afamelanotide, provide a positive effect on the central nervous system.

Afamelanotide is known to offer neuroprotection and act as a potent anti-oxidative hormone. The drug also possesses further therapeutic benefits, activating vessels, reducing fluid formation, protecting critical nerve and brain tissue, and restoring the blood brain barrier. The latter is a critical defence mechanism protecting the brain.

If successful, this could be a lucrative therapy for Clinuvel. The company notes that AIS accounts for approximately 85% of the 15 million strokes suffered worldwide each year. Despite its prevalence, treatment options are limited and in Europe, over 85% of AIS cases presenting to hospitals are not eligible for current standard of care treatment.

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James Mickleboro does not own any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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