Array Biopharma Shares Soar on Melanoma Trial’s Early Results

Array BioPharma Inc. rose the most ever after the drugmaker said its treatment for a deadly skin cancer yielded promising early results in a final-stage study.

Array’s treatment targets mutated proteins involved in a form of melanoma. Patients who received a combination of two of Array’s drugs survived an average of 14.9 months without worsening of their cancer, Array and its partner, closely held French drugmaker Pierre Fabre, said Monday in a statement. Those who got another treatment targeting an abnormal protein, Roche Holding AG’s Zelboraf, survived an average of 7.3 months before their cancer worsened. Boulder, Colorado-based Array, which began selling shares in 2000, gained 65 percent to $6.01 at 12:03 p.m. in New York.

Melanoma is among the most common U.S. cancers, with more than 76,000 new cases and 10,000 deaths expected in 2016, according to the National Institutes of Health. The results are from the first part of a study looking at the drug combination in patients whose melanoma has abnormalities in BRAF, a protein linked to rapid cancer spread. Array’s treatment combines a drug, encorafenib, that targets BRAF, along with binimetinib, which targets another cancer-linked protein called MEK.

Anupam Rama, a JPMorgan analyst, said in a note to clients that he sees a “high probability of approval” from the trial. He rates Array shares the equivalent of buy.

— With assistance by Doni Bloomfield

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