Shares in Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(NASDAQ:SNSS) rose about 9 percent on Wednesday after the company said that it was expanding its study for its cancer drug Vosaroxin involving a $25 million investment in the company by Royalty Pharma.
The company said it would add 225 more patients for its study involving treatment of acute leukaemia.
A committee of independent monitors had recommended the expansion, after reviewing early results from the trial.
After the expansion the number of patients under the study will now be 675, all of whom have "acute myeloid leukaemia that has not responded to one previous round of treatment, or has returned after one previous treatment."
While expanding the study to include more patients will prolong it and make it more expensive but raises the chances of survival of the patients who are under the study.
With the increased investments in Sunesis, Royalty Pharma will get warrants to buy additional stock and it will receive royalty payments on sales of vosaroxin if the drug is approved.
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Sunesis shares advanced 97 cents, or 36.7 percent, to $3.61 in afternoon trading. Earlier the stock rose to $4.02, its highest price since June 2010.
The company said that it expected to complete enrolling patients in 2013 while the results of the study will be reported in the first half of 2014.
The study is designed to measure how long the patients live after they are treated with either vosaroxin and the chemotherapy drug cytarabine, or cytarabine and a placebo.