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Geron Climbs After FDA Lifts Partial Hold on Cancer Trial

Geron Corp., a biotechnology company with no marketed products, rose the most in about three months after U.S. regulators removed a partial hold on a clinical trial for its drug to treat a rare form of leukemia.

Geron increased 21 percent to $3.15 at the close in New York. The Menlo Park, California-based company has almost tripled in the past 12 months.

Geron is developing its drug imetelstat for a form of leukemia called myelofibrosis. The Food and Drug Administration lifted the freeze after the Mayo Clinic, the trial’s sponsor, gave the agency more information about the reversibility of the experimental drug’s toxic effect on the liver, Geron said in a statement today.

Myelofibrosis is a bone marrow cancer that can lead to severe anemia, fatigue and an enlarged spleen and liver. After patients taking the drug showed low-grade liver function test abnormalities, the FDA halted dosing of imetelstat for all patients except those who were showing a benefit from it.

Geron’s clinical trials in two other diseases, thrombocythemia and multiple myeloma, remain on hold and it can’t start any new trials in the U.S.

“The company is working diligently to seek release of the full clinical hold,” Geron said in the statement.

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