Aveo Pharma Stock Jumps 40 Percent in A Week, CEO Notes Progress in Pivotal Kidney Cancer Trial

Xconomy Boston — 

Aveo Pharmaceuticals has grabbed the attention of investors, who have driven its stock price up by 40 percent over the past week to $8.67 per share at yesterday’s close. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech firm’s (NASDAQ:AVEO) stock is heating up as much of the rest of the market remains cool, and Aveo CEO Tuan Ha-Ngoc provided some insights about his firm that help explain why its thermostat seems to be set on high.

In recent weeks, Ha-Ngoc has been out talking to investors about his firm’s rapid progress in its Phase III clinical trial of the drug tivozanib in patients with advanced kidney cancer. Aveo issued a statement on August 12 to say that enrollment of patients into the trial was wrapped up six months ahead of the original one-year plan. This is no small deal for Aveo and its investors; the company, which has no products on the market, is now expecting to provide initial data from the pivotal study of its lead cancer drug in mid-2011 rather than late next year.

The price jump is a nice lift for Aveo, which went public in a March initial public offering priced at $9 per share rather than the earlier estimated $13-15 per share range. Aveo brought in $72.2 million in the IPO, selling investors on the promise of tivozanib and its technology that uses genetically engineered mice to help drug developers discern whether an experimental cancer drug might work in humans. It’s also the first time since late April that the small biotech firm’s stock has approached its IPO selling price. Ha-Ngoc, who is proud that his is one of the few biotech companies to break into the public markets in recent years, gave some color on the nod his firm has garnered from Wall Street in recent trading days.

“Lately, you see our stock finally get some recognition as the rest of the market goes sideways or downwards, as people start to see that maybe the company isn’t as … Next Page »

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