Shares of Boston-based resTORbio (NASDAQ: TORC) have nearly doubled to roughly $16 apiece, based on positive results the company released this morning from a Phase 2b trial of its drug for respiratory tract infections.
The drug, RTB101, is a pill that blocks an enzyme called TORC1. The company says the drug works by boosting immune function, along with other benefits. ResTORbio licensed the drug from Novartis last year.
The randomized, placebo-controlled 16-week trial included 652 elderly patients at risk of potentially fatal respiratory tract infections (RTIs). The company said that it had hit its main goal in the trial, showing that the drug (a 10 milligram dose given daily) reduced the percentage of patients with one or more lab-confirmed RTIs by more than 30 percent. The company also reported a 68.4 percent reduction in the incidence of RTIs in a subgroup of patients who had asthma.
Patients in both the treatment (4.5 percent of patients) and the placebo (7.2 percent) groups suffered adverse events, but the company said none were related to the drug.
The company said that RTIs are the fourth leading cause of hospitalizations and the seventh leading cause of death in the elderly, whose aging immune systems make them more susceptible to complications from lung infections.
ResTORbio says its next step is a pivotal trial of RTB101 for RTIs in high-risk elderly patients, which, if all goes well, could lead the company to file for FDA approval.