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UPDATE 1-PharmaMar plans phase III trial of cancer drug for COVID-19, shares jump

(Adds details, updates share price)

MADRID, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Spanish pharmaceutical company PharmaMar said on Friday a clinical trial of its cancer drug Aplidin to treat adult patients with COVID-19 was successful and it now aims to start phase III trials.

PharmaMar shares rose more than 10% in morning trading, outperforming the Ibex-35. Year to date, the stock has more than tripled in value, Refinitiv Eikon data shows.

The company said there was a substantial reduction in viral load and the C-reactive protein (CRP) in patients, and that 80.7% of patients had been discharged before the 15th day of hospitalisation, and 38.2% before the eighth day.

“With these data, the company will begin, in the next few days, conversations with the regulatory agencies to define the next phase III pivotal study for plitidepsin (Aplidin) in patients with COVID-19, who require hospitalisation,” PharmaMar said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Spanish Agency for Medicines and Healthcare Products (AEMPS) has given the company the green light to increase the number of patients being treated with Aplidin in hospitals, following results obtained from the first group of patients.

Aplidin is approved in Australia for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

PharmaMar, which investigates and develops marine molecules to treat tumours, will give more details on the results during a news conference on Monday. (Reporting by Emma Pinedo; editing by Inti Landauro and Jason Neely)

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